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.