New lead now puts missing Flight 370 1K miles northwest of Perth, Australia

CNN
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 2:36pm

Crews searching for the missing Malaysian airliner are zeroing in on an area where a high-tech pinger detected two audio signals.

Officials say it could take days before they can confirm whether the signals came from the plane.

It’s been more than a month since Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went missing.

That’s more than the expected 30-day life span for batteries in the plane's black box.

Still there are new signs of hope in the search.

"We have a promising lead but we have yet to get the confirming evidence," retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said during a press conference. Houston is the chief coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre.

On Sunday, an Australian navy ship towing a US pinger detected signals consistent with those sent by a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder.

Not once. But twice.

The first for more than two hours. the second some 13 minutes.

The location: more than 1,000 miles northwest of Perth, Australia.

"The audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon," Houston said.

It's like finding a needle in the haystack, in this case the Indian Ocean.

"In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast," Houston explained.

The sounds were located about 15,000 feet below the sea's surface.

Now crews are trying to pick up the signals again.

For search teams, there's also a cautious yet optimistic approach.

"I don't think in the history of aircraft searches, we've started with such inexact information as to identify where the aircraft went in the water. It would certainly be a miracle," U.S. Navy Captain Mark Matthews told CNN.

There's also new information about the flight path.

A senior Malaysian government source tells CNN the plane skirted Indonesian airspace as it went off course.

After reviewing radar data, officials determined the plane curved north, before turning south toward the Indian Ocean, potentially to avoid radar detection.

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