Two new "ping" signals have been detected in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australian officials said on Wednesday.
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is in charge of Australia's search for the ill-fated flight, aid one ping was detected on Tuesday afternoon and lasted five minutes, 25 seconds, while a second was picked up on Tuesday night and lasted seven minutes.
On the weekend, a U.S. Navy "towed pinger locator" picked up two signals consistent with black box locator beacons - the first for more than two hours and the second for about 13 minutes.
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Houston added that analysis showed these initial pings were consistent with the flight data recorder on the missing jet.
Houston said he is not yet at the point of deploying a submersible to locate the aircraft, but added that he is optimistic that what's remained of the aircraft will be found in the "not so distant future."
"I believe we are searching in right area but we need to identify wreckage before we can determine with certainty," he said.
The black boxes record cockpit data and may provide answers about what exactly happened to the plane. But they typically have a life-span of 30 days, making the need for an imminent breakthrough in the search even more crucial.
"Looks like signals we've picked up recently have been much weaker than original signals - either a long way away from it or in my view more likely batteries starting to fade and as consequence signal is becoming weaker," Houston said.
The Malaysia Airlines flight went missing on March 8, en route to Beijing from Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur, carrying 239 passengers and crew. It is believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean although no debris from the aircraft has yet been found.