Can 6-second audio signal solve mystery of missing flight MH370?

British scientists have discovered a six-second audio signal that could potentially solve the mystery of the missing flight MH370, British media report.

About 40 minutes after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 met 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board had taken off in Kuala Lumpur for a night flight to Beijing, all contact was lost and the aircraft disappeared from radar somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

There is until today no trace of the aircraft and its occupants and there is no idea what caused the disappearance. Part of the aircraft, a Boeing 777, washed up on the island of Réunion in July 2015.

Researchers from Cardiff University have discovered that hydrophones, or underwater microphones, have picked up an audio signal recorded around the time the plane reportedly crashed into the Indian Ocean. The researchers are now proposing further tests to determine whether the six-second signal can help finally find the missing Boeing 777 after more than a decade.

Small earthquake

A 200-ton plane crashing at a speed of 200 meters per second releases a kinetic energy equivalent to a small earthquake and large enough to be picked up by hydrophones thousands of kilometers away.

There are two hydroacoustic stations that could detect such a signal, The Telegraph reports: one at Cape Leeuwin, the southwesternmost point of the Australian mainland, and one at Diego Garcia, a British island in the Indian Ocean. The two stations are within a “signal travel time” of tens of minutes from the ‘Seventh Arc’, a 2,000 kilometer search area west of the Australian city of Perth.

The Cardiff researchers have identified one signal that coincides with the short window in which the flight could have crashed into the ocean: a signal that was recorded by the Cape Leeuwin station, but not by Diego Garcia’s. “This raises questions about its origins,” says researcher Usama Kadri. “It is not yet conclusive, but given the sensitivity of hydrophones, it is highly unlikely that a large aircraft impacting the water surface would not leave a detectable pressure signature.”

By Editor

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