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Malaysia Airlines missing plane search setback: Pings not from black boxes

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New sound analysis concerning pings heard during the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 indicates that two of the pings did not emanate from the black boxes of the Boeing 777. Although it remains unclear as to what created the sounds detected, searchers are now doubtful that were from the missing plane.

Fox News reported May 12 that searchers now believe that the two signals picked up on April 8 were not from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. The frequency, they believe, is too low.

Australian naval Commander James Lybrand, captain of the Ocean Shield search vessel, said in an interview late last week that the signals received were not consistent with a man-made device.

Still, authorities are holding onto the idea that two signals detected three days before (April 5) could have been pings sounding from the black boxes of the missing jet. The frequencies of the signals (33 kHz) were still lower than what is customary for black box beacon locators (37.5 kHz) but experts noted that a dying battery could account for the lower output signal, as could deep-sea conditions.

Even with the re-analysis, Australian and American investigators (the U. S. Navy is sharing data with other American agencies and consultants for their own re-analysis) have yet to give up on any of the signals.

"Analysis on all four detections is continuing," Angus Houston, chief search coordinator for the Australia-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre, told CNN Monday. "At this point in time, it is too early to discount any of the acoustic detections."

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China. Although it is uncertain as to why the plane altered course, it is known that it flew from the South China Sea to the Strait of Malacca on Malaysia's west coast. The plane then headed south over the Indian Ocean.

Finding the black boxes could help solve the mystery of the missing flight, answer questions regarding why it veered off course, why it flew low enough to escape Malaysia's radar system (for the most part), and why it flew out over the southern Indian Ocean. It is there that investigators believe the Boeing 777 finally ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean (based on ping data from a British satellite and fuel expenditure calculations).

Another report is expected from the Malaysia government on May 14. According to Xinhua News agency, Malaysia's Ministry of Transport is preparing a joint report with the Defence Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to present to the Malaysian cabinet on Wednesday.

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