Authorities give mixed messages on MH370 search

Friday, April 11, 2014

Australian PM says 'very confident' latest signals from Malaysian Airlines flight MH370's black box as Air Chief offers denial

Australian PM says 'very confident' latest signals from Malaysian Airlines flight MH370's black box as Air Chief offers denial

MELBOURNE, Australia - Australia's prime minister offered the most promising sign yet Friday that the black box from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 had been found -  even as officials in charge of the search operation said it was unlikely signals picked up by a vessel were related to the flight.

"We have very much narrowed down the search area and we are very confident the signals are from the black box," Tony Abbott told reporters Friday in China, where most of the 239 on board the jet came from.

However, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the Australian head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre leading the search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean, said the signal detected Thursday was not related to flight MH370.

“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analyzed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black box," he said.

The contradiction highlights the confusion and mixed messages given by authorities searching for the missing airline, not to mention the exasperation the families of the dead feel.

Families have said they will pursue legal action against authorities that have misguided and delayed rescue operations, while wasting a large quantity of resources and materials and valuable time for the rescue effort.

P-3C Orion surveillance planes are continuing their search Friday, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield, with three more missions planned for today.

A decision as to when to deploy the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle will be made on advice from experts on board the Ocean Shield and could be some days away.

Since last weekend, various planes have reported possible pings from the plane's data recorders in an area about 1,400 miles northwest of Perth. There are serious concerns, however, that the recorder's batteries may have expired.

The search for the airliner, which went missing on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, has so far taken 35 days while the batteries typically last about 30.

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