April 11th, 2014
11:39 AM ET

Australian PM 'Confident' Signals are From 'Black Box'

The painstaking search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 got a vote of confidence Friday that the effort is headed in the right direction, but officials noted that much work remains.

"We have very much narrowed down the search area, and we are very confident that the signals that we are detecting are from the black box," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said during an official visit to China, where he met with President Xi Jinping.

Abbott was referring to the plane's flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. Locator beacons attached to them are designed to emit high-pitched signals, or pings.

Over the past week, four such pings have been detected by a ping locator towed by the Australian vessel Ocean Shield.

"We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometers, but confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as recovering wreckage from almost 4½ kilometers beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on that flight," he said.

A fifth ping, detected Thursday by a sonobuoy dropped by an airplane, is "unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes," Australian chief search coordinator Angus Houston said Friday.

"On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370," Houston said in a statement. "Further analysis continues to be undertaken by Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre."

Friday is Day 35 in the search, and the batteries powering the flight data recorders' locator beacons are certified to emit signals for only 30 days after they get wet.

That has injected the search effort with a heightened sense of urgency.

The signal is "starting to fade, and we are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires," Abbott said.

Bill Nye, known as "The Science Guy," and a former mechanical engineer for Boeing, spoke to Kate Bolduan about the mission of finding these signals on "New Day" Friday. 

Nye said: "Everybody just appreciate how extraordinary finding the thing at all is. You've got faint signals on a satellite not intended to track airplanes doing this crazy maneuver. And then you go out looking in the ocean and you hear those pings...These people wouldn't be claiming that they heard it unless they really did."

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