An Australian plane detected yet another possible signal from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet in the southern Indian Ocean on Thursday, as searchers said they were feeling more confident that the aircraft's flight-data recorder ultimately would be found.
Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search off Australia's west coast, says an Australian air force P-3 Orion, which has been dropping sonar buoys in the search area, picked up a possible signal that may have come from a manmade source.
"I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft," he said.
"Hopefully with lots of transmissions we'll have a tight, small area, and hopefully in a matter of days we will be able to find something on the bottom that might confirm that this is the last resting place of MH370," Houston said.
"The signal, which could be from the plane's black box recorders, brings to five the number of 'pings' detected in recent days within the search area in the Indian Ocean.
"The first four signals were detected by a U.S. Navy 'Towed Pinger Locator' (TPL) aboard Australia's Ocean Shield vessel, while the latest was reported by an aircraft picking up transmissions from a listening device buoy laid near the ship on Wednesday."
The Telegraph reports that the latest signals are "very weak" but "very stable, distinct and clear." According to the newspaper:
"It is believed that the beacon's batteries, which are three days past their 30-day expiry date, are running out of life.
"All the signals have been detected along a narrow strip of the Indian Ocean in an area known as Wharton Basin, a mostly flat underwater region that has not been mapped in 50 years.
"The basin's ocean floor has thick layers of silt, but experts said an object with a large surface area — such as the fuselage of a plane — would not be deeply buried."