Perth: A Chinese patrol ship searching the crashed Malaysian airliner on Saturday picked up a pulse signal used by aircraft black boxes, in a possible breakthrough in the nearly month-long multination hunt for the jet.
Haixun 01, searching for the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, detected a pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5kHz per second in southern Indian Ocean waters, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
It is yet to be established whether it is related to the Boeing 777-200, that went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board, including five Indians.
A black box detector deployed by the Haixun 01 picked up the signal at around 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, the report said.
The batteries of the black box flight recorders have a life of about 30 days, meaning they will shut down in the next three days.
The black box can provide audio record of what happened for about two hours before it crashed.
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Malaysia`s civil aviation chief, said the frequency emitted by MH370`s black boxes were the same as the one tracked by the Chinese ship.
Australian authorities, however, counselled caution, stating that there was no confirmation at this stage that the signals were related to the ill-fated aircraft.
Over 100 floating objects have been sighted in satellite imageries and by the multination search team but these have turned out to be false leads to locating the debris of the aircraft.
Officials said the multination team has entered the most intensive phase in the search operations.
Up to 10 military planes, three civil jets and 11 ships were searching about 217,000 sq km, 1,700 km north west of Perth, to locate the plane`s data recorder that could help investigators unravel the mystery of what happened on March 8, the day the Beijing-bound jet suddenly disappeared from radar screens.
China`s Liberation Daily reported that three people on board had heard the signals, which were not recorded as they came suddenly.
The frequency of 37.5 kHz per second is currently the international standard for the underwater locater beacon on a plane`s black box.
A Chinese air force plane searching for the jet today spotted a number of white floating objects in the search area.
Earlier today, Malaysia vowed it will not give up on efforts to search the missing airliner.
"I can only speak for Malaysia, and Malaysia will not stop looking for MH370," Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, adding the search will continue "with the same level of vigour and intensity."