Ships Investigate Signals Reported in Jet Search

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UPDATE 3:49 P.M:

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- A British navy ship has reached the area of the Indian Ocean where a Chinese ship reported detecting a "pulse signal" over the past two days.

The HMS Echo is fitted with sophisticated sound-locating equipment that could help determine whether the sounds came from the missing Malaysian plane's "black boxes."

Some experts are expressing doubt that the equipment aboard the Chinese ship was capable of picking up signals from the black boxes.

Officials say Australian military aircraft are also being sent to the area to investigate. An Australian navy ship with high-tech sound detectors from the U.S. Navy will also head to that area. But first, officials say the Ocean Shield will investigate a sound it picked up today in another part of the search area.

Meanwhile, a senior Malaysian government official says investigators have determined that the missing jetliner skirted Indonesian airspace as it flew from Malaysia to the southern Indian Ocean.

The official says Indonesian authorities have confirmed that the plane did not show up on their military radar. He says the plane could have deliberately flown around Indonesian airspace to avoid radar detection, or may have coincidentally traveled out of radar range.

2:30 P.M:
PERTH, Australia (AP) -- It's being described as an "acoustic event" but officials leading the search for a missing Malaysian airliner in the Indian Ocean are repeating their cautions that it's not a confirmed sound from a black box.

Still, three separate but fleeting sounds from deep in the ocean, including one today, offer new hope in the hunt for the missing airliner.

The head of the multinational search being conducted off Australia's west coast confirmed that a Chinese ship had picked up electronic pulsing signals twice in a small patch of the search zone, once on Friday and again yesterday.

Today, an Australian ship carrying sophisticated deep-sea sound equipment picked up a third signal in in a different part of the massive search area.

Retired Australian Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search, says the next step "is to determine the significance" of the sounds.

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