PERTH, Australia - The hunt for "pings" from the missing Malaysian airliner's black box narrowed in the remote Indian Ocean on Thursday after fresh signals were detected, raising hopes that wreckage will soon be found.
With the beacon on flight MH370's data recorders due to fade more than a month after the Boeing 777 vanished, the Australian-led search continued trawling for signals, seeking to pinpoint an exact location before sending down a submersible to take a look.
The Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) announced Thursday that the search area off western Australia had been significantly pared down to 57,923 square kilometres (22,364 square miles), ten times smaller than its previous size.
The Australian ship Ocean Shield, bearing a special US Navy "towed pinger locator", is now focused on a far smaller area of the Indian Ocean 2,280 kilometres (1,400 miles) northwest of Perth where it picked up two fresh signals Tuesday.
Those transmissions matched a pair of signals logged over the weekend.
"When you put those two (sets of pings) together, it makes us very optimistic," US Seventh fleet spokesman commander William Marks said, adding that the search was getting "closer and closer".
"This is not something you find with commercial shipping, not something just found in nature - this is definitely something that is man-made, consistent with what you would find with these black boxes.
"So we are looking pretty good now." He told CNN he expected the pings to last "maybe another day or two".
No floating debris from the aircraft, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people aboard, has yet been found despite days of exhaustive searching by ships and aircraft from several nations.