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FLIGHT MH370: Search narrowed to 40km-by-50km area

April 12:  The search for missing flight MH370 had been narrowed to an area of 40km-by-50km, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

Although the PM said on Friday authorities were "very confident" the latest signals detected from the area were from the plane's flight and cockpit recorders, no new signals were picked up or reacquired today.

"Yes, we have narrowed down – very considerably narrowed down – the search area," Mr Abbott told reporters in Beijing. 

"But trying to locate anything 4.5 kilometres beneath the surface of the ocean, about 1000 kilometres from land is a massive, massive task and it is likely to continue for a long time to come."

"Once that's been done –and I don't want to speculate on when that might be – once that's been done it's our intention to then deploy the submersible which will conduct a sonar search of the seabed and based on the sonar search attempt to get a visual on wreckage."

Mr Abbott said the signal was "rapidly fading" and search crews were scrambling to detect further pings to narrow the search zone before time ran out.


FLIGHT MH370: Abbott 'very confident' signals are from black boxes
April 11: "We're very confident the signals we're detecting are from the black box from MH370," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters at a press conference in Shanghai this afternoon.

Mr Abbott said a "series of detections" from the towed pinger locator aboard the ADV Ocean Shield had enabled authorities to narrow the search area significantly, but that they were racing against the clock before the black box battery died.

Beyond that, however, the PM offered few details.

“We’re getting to the stage where the signal from what we are very confident is the black box is starting to fade,”he said.

“We are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires.’’

An Australian air force P-3 Orion, which had been dropping sonar buoys into the water near where four sounds were heard earlier (see area marked in yellow on map below).

He hoped to gain a further briefing later in the day before meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.