Search teams looking for flight MH370 have detected two signals which could be from the missing plane’s black box.
The signals were picked up in the southern Indian Ocean. The Australian defence vessel Ocean Shield picked up the signals twice, in an area around 370 miles north of where two signals were detected by a Chinese ship on Saturday.
Reportedly, there were two distinct returns, suggesting transmissions from a flight data recorder as well as a cockpit voice recorder on a Boeing 777 jet.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished as it was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Search teams are racing against time to find the flight recorders as the batteries could run out at any moment, meaning the signals would stop being emitted.
Despite a number of possible debris-sightings, no wreckage from the plane has been found during the month-long search.
Discussing this latest news, Angus Houston, the former Australian defence chief heading the search, said the new information was “the most promising lead” so far.
Mr Houston said: “Clearly this is a most promising lead, and probably in the search so far, it’s the probably the best information that we have had.
“This would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.”
“I am much more optimistic than I was a week ago.”
But he added: “We are talking about a long operation here and we have yet to find the aircraft.”
Mr Houston said that the position of the sound would need to be further pinpointed so that an underwater drone could be sent down to investigate.
He said: “It could take some days before the information is available to establish whether these detections can be confirmed as being from MH370.
“In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast.
“I would want more confirmation before we say this is it. Without wreckage, we can’t say it’s definitely here. We’ve got to go down and have a look and hopefully we’ll find it somewhere in the area that we narrowed to.”
The British navy ship HMS Echo has now joined the search.