Reports yesterday that a Chinese patrol ship hunting for the missing flight MH370 detected a pulse signal in the south Indian Ocean and a field of debris floating nearby have been greeted cautiously by the pinger manufacturer, says CNN today.
Anish Patel, president of Dukane Seacom, which manufactured the batteries in the two black boxes on the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, told the international broadcaster that his level of scepticism was high, after hearing reports that a Chinese patrol ship has detected a single pulse signal in the Indian Ocean.
“My degree of scepticism is high… have to get some corroboration. I’d like to see some additional assets put on site quickly… maybe some sonar buoys in water in that location,” Patel said.
“(I’d) also would like to understand why not two signals. There should be a second beacon from either the flight data recorder or the voice recorder… so if the recorders are adjacent or near each other or in reasonable proximity… one (1.6km) or two miles (3.2km), they should have detected possibly two signals.”
AFP reports today the Australian authorities leading the multinational search for the jet had also advised a high degree of caution over the Chinese announcement, stressing that no link to MH370 had been confirmed.
"I have been advised that a series of sounds have been detected by a Chinese ship in the search area," Angus Houston, the chief coordinator of Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre, said in a statement.
"However, there is no confirmation at this stage that the signals and the objects are related to the missing aircraft," the retired air chief marshal said.
"The characteristics reported are consistent with the aircraft black box," he said, adding that a number of white objects were sited about 90km away.
Patel told CNN: “Let’s get some additional assets in the water in the area so we can corroborate before we get everyone’s hopes up, before we disappoint these families one more time. We need to corroborate.”
A detector deployed by the Haixun 01 patrol ship picked up the signal around 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude.
Patel said the signal number was right. “But it is the right number… hearing 37.5kHz… fantastic.”
Xinhua also reported that a Chinese air force plane had spotted a number of white floating objects in the search area.
Dozens of ships and planes from 26 countries are racing to find the black box recorders before their batteries run out, Reuters said today.
Up to 10 military planes, three civilian jets and 11 ships are scouring a 217,000-sq-km patch of desolate ocean some 1,700km from Perth, near where investigators believe the Boeing went down.
Authorities have not ruled out mechanical problems as a cause of the plane's disappearance, but say the evidence, including loss of communications, suggests it was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres from its set route of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
Sonar equipment on two ships joining the search may help find the black box voice and data recorders that are key to unlocking what happened on the flight.
Australian authorities said the so-called Towed Pinger Locator would be pulled behind navy ship HMAS Ocean Shield, searching a converging course on a 240-km track with British hydrographic survey ship HMS Echo. – April 6, 2014.