A university in Perth, Australia, has released a five-second audio clip some experts claim could be the key to finding missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The clip, recorded on the day the plane disappeared, could be of a seismic event, but some suggest it might also be the sound of a plane hitting the ocean surface.
According to Australia News, the sounds were recorded routinely as part of scientific monitoring of the ocean floor for earthquakes or other similar events. Experts at the Curtin University’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology in Perth released the sound and its location, thousands of miles from the designated search area, with only mild optimism.
Dr. Alec Duncan, a senior research fellow at the university, told reporters that there was a 90% chance the sound was a natural event unrelated to the missing plane. “At the moment we are saying, and I think it will hold up to scrutiny, that the signal that we’ve detected is not consistent with the satellite data,” he noted.
Nonetheless, Duncan described the sound as “significant,” strong enough to represent the plane hitting the ocean surface or the plane collapsing on itself as it sunk in the ocean, succumbing to water pressure. “Data from one of the [Rottnest] recorders showed a clear acoustic signal at a time that was reasonably consistent with other information relating to the disappearance of MH370,” he noted.
The new evidence places the plane far from where satellite data had led experts. The search of the designated area thousands of miles from Perth proved fruitless for weeks, however, triggering an official declaration that the area was unlikely to be the plane’s “final resting place.” With the search area redefined to an incalculable size, new clues have surfaced, such as the Curtin University recording.
Another clue that has baffled observers is the claim by a UK woman sailing from India to Thailand that she saw MH370 in flames on a night out at sea. “I saw something that looked like a plane on fire,” said Katherine Tee. “Then I thought I must be mad. It caught my attention because I had never seen a plane with orange lights before so I wondered what they were… It looked longer than planes usually do. There was what appeared to be black smoke behind it.” She did not report the sighting at the time because she did not believe she saw it, citing marital issues with her husband, who was also onboard the ship.
While the governments involved in the search have vowed to leave no stone unturned in finding the ship, international attention has largely moved on from the search. Nonetheless, the governments of Malaysia and China have vowed to work together into the future to find the plane, with the Chinese government telling Malaysia to “take seriously” the search, as most passengers missing were Chinese nationals.