Australia: Signal Heard by China Ship Is “Consistent” With Black Box, Link to MH370 Uncertain

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 5 2014 3:51 PM

Australia: Signal Heard by China Ship Is “Consistent” With Black Box, Link to MH370 Uncertain

Crew members monitor TAC stations onboard a RNZAF P3 Orion during search operations for wreckage and debris of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of Western Australia

Photo by Nick Perry/AFP/Getty Images

In news that could provide a fresh new clue—and narrow the search area—on the location of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Chinese ship reportedly detected a “pulse signal” that emits at the same frequency as the plane’s data recorders. Early Sunday, Australian authorities that are coordinating the search efforts said the signal would be “consistent” with the signal of a black box, but there is no evidence yet to definitively link it to MH370, reports Reuters. Still, the “pings,” which were detected near a field of objects floating in the water, “offered investigators … the tantalizing hope that they may have caught a break,” notes CNN.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said a ship picked up a “pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5kHz,” which would be consistent with a black box, although an expert tells the Associated Press it could also be “an aberrant signal” from a nuclear submarine. Still, if verified it would help reduce the search are to around four square miles.  


News that a Chinese ship had detected the “ping” also raised questions about whether the search operations are being successfully coordinated between the different countries, notes the Los Angeles Times. It isn’t clear whether Australian authorities even counted the Chinese ship that detected the signal as one that was participating in the search operations. In fact, Australian authorities had failed to mention that there was a Chinese ship that had a black-box pinger detector.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?