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No Official Confirmation of Pulse Signal; China State News Patrol Ship Detects Pulse Signal in MH370 Search Zone in Indian Ocean

Aired April 5, 2014 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: What do you make of the news reported by the Chinese news agency, Xinhua this morning that this pulse signal has been detected in the South Indian Ocean.

CAPT. RAYMOND MCCORD, U.S. NAVY DIRECTOR, OCEAN ENGINEERING: Well, that is great news, if it is. Like Mary said, luck plays a lot in these. In these type of operations, there is always a lot of news that comes out and not everything is backed up. This is from the state agency, the newspaper, the commander who is organizing the whole search effort hopefully is in contact with the actual people who detected it and getting all the information and location and exactly what they were using and how they did it. Whether or not they can actually pinpoint a location on it.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: OK. What about the possibility that somebody else was just conducting a test of their beacon?

MCCORD: It's a possibility. I don't know who is in the area and who would want to do that in that area. It is a pretty remote area. There is not a lot of shipping in the area. I'm not sure who would be doing that.

BLACKWELL: Do we still have Jim Clancy there in Kuala Lumpur? Jim, has there been any response and a reaction yet from Malaysian authorities?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No reaction from Malaysian authorities, but the Australian authorities that are with that joint coordination center are not confirming it yet. Perhaps they are in the process of getting more information. Remember this is basically a two-line report from the Xinhua news agency saying they located it and transmitting at this frequency once per second, which would be correct.

But at the same time, it doesn't say how long they heard it for or where they heard it or is it still transmitting. You know, there are so many unanswered questions as yet. I want to wait and see if we get confirmation here. One positive note that I think we heard today coming out of Malaysians was from the CEO of Malaysian Airlines. He said they actually rotated or replaced the batteries in those flight data recorders, cockpit voice recorder ahead of schedule.

A little bit faster than they were required to. He said this particular set of units was apparently going to be serviced again come June of this year. So, the batteries should have been in pretty good shape. At least that's what the indications are from the CEO of Malaysia Airlines.

BLACKWELL: And the hope the battery life would have lasted longer than 30 days, which is forecast for most of the flight data recorders. Mary Schiavo, I want to go to you with this because we were sitting in these positions in these seats two weeks ago Saturday morning when the acting transportation minister held up the paper and said that the Chinese through their satellite technology had detected objects in the water and the Chinese would make announcement later.

Well, that announcement officially, the news conference never came and what they found was no big credible leads. So wait and see is the phrase that Jim Clancy used and I think that is very important.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, wait and see, certainly, but wait and see and send some assets and ships and other people over there as soon as possible would be my M.O. because this is the only break that anybody's had for a very long time. It is just too right on the money in terms of the frequency, the megahertz. It's too close to what it should be. It is exactly what it should be if it is a pinger, to overlook.

It would not be a freak thing in nature. You just wouldn't pick up that frequency from a whale or anything like that. So, yes, don't be putting all of our hopes in that one area yet, but boy, I would sent the ships their right now.

PAUL: Retired Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kay is with us now as well. Lieutenant, thank you so much for being with us. What do you make of this latest information? Let me set it here for you. We do have a report from the state news agency in China, Xinhua, that the Chinese patrol ship has detected a pulse signal at the frequency of 37.5 kilohertz. What do you make of that this morning?

LT. COL. MICHAEL KAY, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Look, in a four-week long investigation that has given us absolutely no clues, this is potentially sizable information. From that respect, I think all of the discourse that we're hearing is sensible and objective. What I would say is that if we look at the beginning of the investigation and the way the information was disseminated, I think it could have been done better.

Now the Australians have taken leadership on the international side, I think the global community with the information that is driven through the coordination cell. That is key when it comes to dissemination, but also release, what information are you going to be releasing? I'm slightly concerned this has come from a Chinese news agency.

I would like to be seeing any sort of corroborated evidence coming from the Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia. Until we get absolutely something clinical from them, we should be very cautious about this. I also would be looking at the 150-mile tracks. If, indeed, this 37.5 kilohertz has been found on one of those two converging tracks, it is again more positive evidence.

We've heard about the Inmarsat evidence with the 250-mile tracks. That is good news if it is coming from those tracks. Mary talked about the overall assets. We need the P-3s and P-8s and get them over all areas to try to cooperate. Can we see anything that would link the black boxes in the areas we are looking in? Any indication or debris to confirm that evidence. There is a long way to go before we get anything definitive. This is potentially good.

BLACKWELL: All right, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kay, you just brought up a good point. You are hoping for some corroboration from the Joint Coordination Center. Let's go now to our Erin McLaughlin there in Perth. Are we hearing anything from the Australians to corroborate this report from the Chinese state news agency?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not at the moment. Authorities at the Joint Collaboration Center here in Perth saying they are unable to confirm this Xinhua news report. I'm sure they are working furiously to try and figure out what this is all about. This has been a 24-hour search operation today. A total of 13 planes and 11 vessels searching the area the size of Ireland.

Three separate areas including a 150-mile long track that team of international experts has identified as the most probable place that the plane went down. No word if the pinging had been heard in that particular area. We are working to get more information and we will get it to you as soon as we can.

PAUL: Chip McCord? I want to go back to Chip McCord, if I could please, who is a retired Navy captain. Fifteen ocean salvages so you know what you are talking about when we talk about the search of this magnitude. I wonder how much do you think because Victor was saying, there is a lot of skepticism coming from investigators and from the public regarding what the investigators are saying? How much do you think investigators know that they are not telling us?

MCCORD: Well, there is a lot of information that comes in in these types of investigations. Before they put things out publicly, they want to verify that they actually have some facts in hand. Just like this report from the Chinese news agency. The folks in Australia will want to verify it and talk to the people on the ship, get some information from them, make sure they understand what they are talking about. Something could have been lost in transmitting from the ship to the Chinese news agency. I'm not saying it is. What I'm saying is it is very important to make sure that you know what you are saying is a fact before you release it to the public.

BLACKWELL: All right, we are going to take a break here, guys, back in the control room or can we continue? We will take a break. We have our resources around the world in Kuala Lumpur and Perth. Simon Boxall joining us, an oceanographer, and Mary Schiavo, CNN analys.

We will continue to cover the breaking news as reported by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, that a Chinese patrol ship has discovered a pulse signal of 37.5 kilohertz that would match a flight data recorder. It has not been confirmed to have come from a flight data recorder. Stay here with CNN. We will continue with the coverage in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: On this suspected last day that we would hear a ping from the black box in the case of Malaysia Flight 370, we are hearing from the Xinhua state news agency there in China that the Chinese patrol ship has detected a pulse signal. What is interesting about it, it has the frequency they sent out of 37.5 kilohertz. That is the standard beacon frequency. We do not know that this has anything to do with Malaysia 370.

We need to point that out. Nothing here has been confirmed. The other information that came out that is so interesting now, too, as we just gotten this update again from Xinhua, they are saying that a black box detector deployed by the Haxon One picked up the signal at about 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude. It has yet to be established whether it is related to the missing jet. We have a locator now.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and our teams are working on building that map to give us an idea if it is in the search area we thought it was going to be in.

PAUL: Victor and I were both interested to hear. We knew there were two black box detectors out there.

BLACKWELL: The Blue Fin 21, the towed pinger locater, U.S. resources on I believe the Echo and the "Ocean Shield," but I don't know and I'm coming to you, Retired Lt. Col. Michael Kay, if we knew it had a black box detector that it could deploy, had that been disclosed up to that point?

KAY: That is a great question. The only assets that I was aware of that had these ping locators were the "Echo" and the "Ocean Shield." That has some very, very technical active and passive sonar equipment that it has been using. It might be that the Chinese ship had active or passive sonar that was listening to the 37.5 kilohertz pulse on. I'm not sure you need a ping locator to be able to pick up that 37.5 kilohertz pulse. It is quite conceivable that a passive sonar could be able to do that.

PAUL: All right, I just want to give a question here. The Hiscuan-1 is the ship. But when we are being told that there is only two, and we know that they've got to keep some information close, you know, to them so they don't compromise the investigation in any way. But Mary Schiavo, we're told there are two. Now we're hearing this is a third ship that has some sort of black box detection equipment on it. Is this indicative, do you think, of -- how do I say it?

BLACKWELL: The hesitancy to share --

PAUL: And really discombobulated structured set of information not just going to the public, but to each ship and each country involved together?

SCHIAVO: Well, I think so. I think we heard from the manufacturer earlier in the week on CNN that in the whole world, there were only five of these towed pinger locaters. I believe that is the number they said. There weren't many, but they had two deployed there. So a lot of us were saying where are the other three and where are they being used and why can't they be deployed?

It is possible they managed to get some of the others that are out there in the world, but you do have to wonder why, if the Chinese had the resource they didn't tell the task force unless for some reason they got it in recently or were in a hurry to get it in the water. There are always excuses for why they maybe didn't coordinate this, if that is how they did it.

There are other ways as I mentioned to pick up the frequency. You have to be pretty close to it or right on it because like I said, the signal is a strength of 3 miles, 1.5 miles depth and 3 miles lateral. So you have to be pretty close. If that is where the ship was, it was almost on top of it. Presumably, that is a good indication of where it is whereas the towed locator pinger has the ability to pick up better than other equipment.

So we don't know. Certainly I hadn't heard and had been watching closely of additional pinger locaters coming to the area. But I'm certain that the Australians who are heading to the investigation are probably very frantic to find out what this information is and getting assets there.

BLACKWELL: Chip McCord, Retired Navy Captain Chip McCord, involved in more than 50 ocean salvages with the TWA 800 and the Swiss Air 111. The conversation up to this point has been in searching for the debris field and any part of the plane, if, indeed, it did crash in the South Indian Ocean. If this is a pinger from a flight data recorder and that's a big if, but if it is, how confident is it to find the flight data recorder before finding any debris on the surface from a crash?

MCCORD: That is very rare. Normally you start with the wreckage of the surface on the ocean. You back it up with tides and trying to predict an impact point and you start the search. This one we never had any of that. The ability to find the towed pinger locator to show what a tremendous job they did on refining that data to be able to predict the path. I want to say, again, this is the one blurb in the Chinese news release in the command structure will have to investigate to find it to verify it.

PAUL: Chip, very good point. I was going to take that point to Michael Kay. You have to think there are families who are watching this. Families who have been all over the spectrum with grief, with hope, with fear. What would you say to them, especially, you know with the majority of passengers from China and now this is coming from the state news agency there, Xinhua, what would you say to families as we wait for word of the pulse signal that they may have picked up?

KAY: The next piece of information that Air Chief Marshal Houston releases and he is the guy leading the whole ship from the Joint Agency Coordination cell. The next bit of information he releases to the families has to be unequivocal. It cannot be a maybe, could, possibly. It has to be we have unequivocal evidence to line what we found the MH370. That is the first point.

The second point is that the whole dissemination of information piece has moved for the better as the investigation progressed. In part because the Australians now have the leadership function. It is absolutely key that the air chief marshal jumps on everyone at this point to say, if there is anything that could be linked to MH370, it comes through the coordination center and it doesn't get leaked out.

If it gets leaked out as we hear from the Chinese news agency, it will just give false storms potentially to those friends and family who are waiting for this piece of unequivocal information. We have three kind of phases to this. It is the where, which is what we are doing the last four weeks.

We'll locate the black boxes, which will be the what happened and hopefully that information could be accessed pretty quickly once we find them. And then there is the big long investigation of why this has happened and we've been talking about theories over the last four weeks. So that kind of the three key phases. We are in phase one at the moment. The key piece is to get the unequivocal snippet of information that will give the families closure. That is priority number one.

BLACKWELL: All right, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kay, stay with us. Everyone else, stay with us as well. We are going to take a quick break. We will continue with the breaking news reported by the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, the Chinese patrol ship has detected a pulse signal there in a search area of the South Indian Ocean. We are working on a map to show you exactly where this is. We will have more after this.


BLACKWELL: And the breaking news at this hour, if you are just joining us here in the U.S. or around the world, the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua is reporting that the Chinese patrol ship that is assisting in this multinational effort to find the remains of Flight 370, the wreckage there. Haixun, the ship has detected the pulse signal of 37.5 kilohertz per second, which is the identical frequency to a pinger on a flight data recorder. It has not yet been confirmed that the frequency is from a flight data recorder, but of course, they are flooding this area with resources.

PAUL: In fact, I'm just getting word. There has been some questions about, you know, the Chinese news agency, Xinhua, and what they knew and what they didn't. I'm getting word there is a representative or reporter from that news agency from Xinhua that is on the Haixun, on this boat. That is where the information is coming from.

I want to bring in David Soucie. David, you have been watching this thing for four weeks. We have been hesitant to say this is a big find. We do not know. There is no confirmation. As you hear this, this is a pulse signal that was found off this ship at the frequency of 37.5 kilohertz, which is the standard beacon frequency, what is your first reaction?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST (via telephone): This is a pinger. I have been doing this for a lot of years. I can't think of anything else that could be. They said it is every second and 37.5. That is a pinger frequency and it is a pinger of pulse of every one second. Unless there is another aircraft down in that area, I think we are on to something here.

PAUL: Could it be testing? Could somebody be testing a signal out there that perhaps merged with what they were trying to do?

SOUCIE: Well, if they are, it is a bad joke.

BLACKWELL: The odds, David -- go ahead, I'm sorry.

SOUCIE: You go ahead. That's fine.

BLACKWELL: The odds of such a large and no debris and really no leads that we heard about the news conference this morning from the Malaysian officials to the last day of the expected 30-day battery life and to go out and hear although there is no confirmation from any resource or the leader of the Joint Asset Collaboration Center, that this is the pinger, the odds of that happening are unbelievable.

SOUCIE: Well, as I said the other night, when we first got that announcement from the prime minister, from Angus Houston, saying that all resources were in place and every piece of equipment they had was out there searching for this thing, that's a point in an investigation where everything starts working together. This synchronicity where everything is working forward and everything has come together and the preparations. That is when miracles happen. I'm really trying to hold back my enthusiasm right now because I have been doing this a lot of years. When things like this happen, it really is exciting for me.

PAUL: Chip McCord, are you still with us -- I'm sorry. Chip McCord, are you still with us?

MCCORD: I'm still here.

PAUL: Chip, I wanted to ask you something. As I said, we were just getting this information from the Xinhua news agency that, quote, "a black box detector was deployed by the Haixun" and it picked up this signal, do we know anything -- I mean, this was not one of the black box detectors from the U.S. that we know so technologically advanced. Do we know what type of detector is on the ship and how capable or how assured we can be that it picked up something substantial?

MCCORD: I don't really know what the capabilities of the Chinese are with regards to this. Again, the report is from the Chinese news agency and not from any official on the ship or anybody in Australia. Although with the previous guest just said, 37.5 kilohertz in one second or two second burst, that is the frequency and period for beacons on the flight data recorder and cockpit recorders.

Until we really nail that down and exactly what they have out there and what they detected, I think it's good we're having discussion, but normally you would not want to release this information until you really got it nailed down and assured you have a fact.

BLACKWELL: And just so people have an idea of what they're looking for and what is emitting this ping we've got a flight data recorder here in studio. This is not the exact model that was on board this Boeing 777 but they all pretty much have a similar design and what you're seeing this -- this grayish white cylinder on the front that is the underwater beacon, that is the pinger. This is what has been emitting the signal for the last 28 days and hopefully will continue here -- actually four weeks we should say to be more precise here.

And you see that silver dot in the center. That is the sensor. And when that sensor hits water, it is activated and it tells the pinger start sending off the ping. One every second for hopefully 30 days and at 37.5 kilohertz per second, which is the frequency at which this pulse has been detected.

So just so you know what they are looking for and what they're talking about, it's not really big. It's a little bigger than a shoe box. But this could answer the questions about what happened to Flight 370. Hundreds of parameters in the Honeywell model that is inside or was inside this Boeing 777 Malaysia 370 to tell you the acceleration, the pitch beyond the speed at which this -- this plane flew. This gives the technical information. There's also another black box, also orange, similar design, that tells you all of the audio recordings; the last two hours from the cockpit recorder which also has its own pinger. So if it is a pinger, it could be from either one of those two black boxes.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: retired Navy Captain Chip McCord, I want to go back to you Chip because as we talk about how challenging this is to try to find anything, specifically this black box. I'm hoping that you can kind of walk us through it. Because we were talking earlier, you've got this ground-based robots and this is an underwater robot essentially that's looking. You've got these ground-based robots that are very two dimensional they've got the surface and that's it. That's all they have to deal with in that space. This -- this pinger underwater has a navigated 3D space, you've got -- it's exposed to extreme pressures I know as well. Can you walk us through some of the challenges of this technology?

MCCORD: Sure normally in the first part of the search when you are looking for the pinger you are using this systems like the towed pinger locator that the Navy, the U.S. Navy has provided. They are being towed behind the ship. And the reason they want to get down deep is they want to get the below any thermal layers of difference of temperatures and the insulator which could affect the propagation of the sound from the pinger. Once you can detect it with the towed pinger locators, they'll do is they'll run a course usually perpendicular to the one they detected it on and the two lines of bearings from those will pinpoint accurately where they are.

So they have to know exactly where the pinger locator is from where they are so they know how much cable they have out and what the depth is and so they have a pretty good accurate idea of exactly where in the world that towed pinger locator is known out where they are using GPS.

The next step is then would be to make sure that that's the pinger and that comes through would normally with side-scan sonar which again as the deeper you go into the ocean, the more pressure it gets and the beefier you have to make your systems. And so that's why many systems are only rated to certain depths and once they go passed that depth they don't work.

These pingers are rated to 20,000 feet which is about 98 percent of the ocean. But if it went into some trench, which is deeper than 20,000 feet, those pingers actually will implode.

So when they go back to the next step after identifying a point from the pinger locator is to do a scan, and normally with side-scan sonar to verify how large and make sure that it is aircraft wreckage and find out how large the debris field is and from that, then they can put down remotely operated vehicles which are again tethered by a cord to the surface. It's probably going back to the side-scan sonar, those can either be towed or it can be an autonomous vehicle which is programmed from the surface before they go down.

The final step is going down with a remote-operated vehicle with a cable and the vehicle goes down to the bottom. Again the deeper it goes, the bigger the vehicle has to get because of the pressure. And then that vehicle with cameras and sonar on it, would be able to fly, hover around the wreckage and identify various parts of the aircraft. They also -- because of the cameras and black boxes are actually bright orange and if they are out in the open, should be able to find those fairly quickly.

BLACKWELL: Mary Schiavo, considering that all we have is this report from the Chinese state news agency that this frequency, this pulse signal was detected and put that in the context of all of the hopes that were dashed of the family members of the last 30 days, do you think it was appropriate for Xinhua, who is as we understand is on board the "Haixun" to release this information before confirming or having any other outside agency confirm that this is indeed a pinger? Could this just be the biggest hope that will later be dashed for these families?

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL USDOT: Well, if it's not the pinger and in fact if they didn't pick up the signal, it would be a terrible -- I would not call it a hoax, but it would be a terrible thing to do to the families which is why this information should have gone back to the joint task force. This should have gone back to Angus Houston and his team and so they could help evaluate it, you know have their experts take a listen or a look at the data rather of what they picked up. And then they would have much more assurance and when they finally announced it.

And Xinhua could have announced it. I know there are some, you know everybody wants to be first and there wouldn't have been a problem with that. But it should have come back to the Australian base, the task force for -- to see if it is a reliable report to see if this is really what they picked up. To see what form they picked up and how they picked it up. Did they pick it up on you know like a simple radio receiver? How did they pick it up so they have some measure of reliability?

But you know how these things go. The reporter on the ship when they got excited that they picked something up probably related it back to his or her news agency and off it went. And there wasn't the filter of reliability that you would hope would be on there. And so now the families have heard it. So if it's not true, the damage has already been done.

PAUL: Listen. We're going to take a quick break here. But if you're just joining us, just to let you know, we are getting information as you hear us talking about from the state news agency Xinhua, who apparently has a representative on board the Chinese patrol ship, the "Haixun 1" that a pulse signal has been detected in the south Indian Ocean with 37.5 kilohertz which is the standard beacon frequency again nothing has been confirmed. This is only coming from that one source.

And in fact we decided to go a little digging ourselves and we are talking next to the President of Dukane Seacom -- that is the manufacturer of the ping locator. And he's telling us we need to be very cautious about this information that's coming in. He's going to tell us why after the short break.

Stay close.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

BLACKWELL: The breaking news this hour is that according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, a single pulse was detected -- a pulse signal in the south Indian Ocean in the search for the debris of Malaysia Airline Flight 370. We also know that this ship, "Haixun" which located this -- this pulse detected the pulse has also deployed a black box detector, they are calling it. They are not giving any more specifics.

We know the U.S. resources there are the Bluefin 21 and the TPL 25. But no specifics about what is being deployed as part of the ship to find out if this is a ping from the black box. Either the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder of the missing flight that's been missing now since March 8th.

PAUL: Right and this is why it's extraordinary. For one this is very possibly the last day. We are in the last few hours that they believe this pinger would continue to emit a signal of any kind because it's 30 days in.

Secondly, again this is coming from Xinhua, the state news agency in China, that not only did they detect a pulse signal, but that it has a frequency of 37.5 kilohertz. That is, we do know, the standard beacon frequency.

However, a couple of things that we did not know, one, we did not know that there was a black box detector on this ship. We were only told of the two black box detectors that were being deployed today from the two other ships that we know of. "Ocean Shield" and "Echo." So that was information that we got that we didn't know was down there. A lot of people are being very skeptical about what this means and about the fact that this has not been confirmed information, about the fact that Xinhua is also the news agency that gave us the information several weeks ago that they found what they thought to be debris. It turned out it was not. So let's go to our panel here. We've got Chip McCord, who is a retired Navy Captain, Michael Kay a retired Lieutenant Colonel and Mary Schiavo and Jim Clancy. Jim Clancy is in Kuala Lumpur.

Mary, Mary Schiavo, let me go to you. Because I want to revisit something that Victor talked about and it was the exact question I had. How appropriate is it for the Chinese to release this information knowing that the majority of their -- of the people on this flight were their nationality or from their country and knowing that these families have been so critical of this investigation that they have been on this horrible roller coaster ride of emotions that you know with fear and hope and despair and grief.

But -- but how -- how much credence do we give to this report until we get some sort of clarification and how appropriate do you think it was for them to release this without more of their investigators being in on it?

SCHIAVO: Well, it wasn't appropriate at all because they are part of an international joint task force. The task force was formed specifically to make the best effort possible, the biggest push, the best coordination of the best minds and resources in the world, literally, to get this together and get this solved. And this kind of information is exactly what they need for the joint task force to look at and to get the minds on it to determine what it is.

But you know, it makes you suspect that obviously the Chinese have technology that they did not share with others. You don't have to share with others. But you do have an obligation to share the information with others if you are a member of the joint task force, that's how it works.

By the way, in the United States in an NTSB -- in an accident investigation task force if you, as a party to the task force leak information, you are kicked off the task force. And they have done that several times in the past. If you start talking out of school and don't share your information with the NTSB first in the accident investigation, you are gone.

Now I'm sure that Australia won't do that because, obviously, if they picked up this pinger, this is an incredible piece, you know, it's an incredible development and they have equipment that is better than anyone knew that they had, which would not surprise me at all.

And China would not want folks to know. And the reason they would want to release it, well because exactly what you said. They were so -- the majority of the passengers were Chinese and they knew that they would be very interested and maybe there's a point of national pride that the China ship found the pinger and they would want to take credit for that, I would assume, for their countrymen and for the people on board the plane.

So it doesn't surprise me that they would have something else, but it does surprise me that they didn't coordinate with the task force because like I said, that could get you kicked off the task force in the United States and would. You would be off. BLACKWELL: Mary, let me read something that speaks to that. We have an important voice joining this conversation in just a moment but speaking of leaking and sharing and protocol. We had just received this. And I'm going to read it to you off my screen.

"The Australia Defense Force learned around lunchtime Saturday -- it's about at 8:46 p.m. there so let's say six hours or so ago, about the Chinese report that the Haixun 1 patrol ship picked up a pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5 kilohertz in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane." That's from an Australian Defense Force spokesperson that authorized to speak to the media told CNN.

The ADF expects China to notify Malaysia first then notify Australia, quote, "in a matter of course", the spokesperson said. The spokesperson also called the Chinese report an anomaly of interest. But it's cautious and says possibility of false positives needs to be considered.

So let's talk about the pinger and the signal with the person who makes pingers and not only makes pingers, but made the pinger that was originally installed on the black box that went into of Flight 370.

Anish Patel, president of Dukane Seacom joining us from Florida is on the phone with us. Anish, what is your level of skepticism after hearing this report from the Chinese State News Agency that this patrol ship has detected a single pulse signal?

ANISH PATEL, DUKANE SEACOM (via telephone): Good morning, Victor. Good morning, Christi. My degree of skepticism is high. I have to get some cooperation. I would like to see some additional assets put onsite quickly. Maybe some sonar buoys in the water in that location.

Also we'd like to understand why not two signals? There should be a second beacon from either the flight data recorder or the voice recorder. So, if the recorders are adjacent or near each other or in reasonable proximity, one or two miles they should have detected possibly two signals. So let's get some additional assets in the water, in the area so we can corroborate before we get everyone's hopes up, before we disappoint these families one more time. I think we need to corroborate.

But it is the right number -- 37.5 kilohertz, that's fantastic.

PAUL: Ok. That's the right number. But let me ask you something. What else could it be if not this pinger? What else at 37.5 kilohertz? I mean give us an idea of what else is out there that would be emitting that kind of frequency?

PATEL: To our knowledge, to my knowledge, it is not a number, it is not a frequency that readily occurs in nature. Dolphins are not talking to each other, you know, next to the microphone. This is the unique number, a unique frequency. The reason it was chosen is to give that standout quality that does not get interfered with by the background noise that readily occurs in the ocean.

BLACKWELL: Your question of why not two signals and I heard that from my producer your conversation with him before coming on air with us. Your question of one signal, not two, is basically a signal from each of the black boxes. One from the digital flight data recorder, the other from the cockpit voice recorder, is that correct?

PATEL: Yes. Let's recall in Air France, in that incident, one of the beacons was dislodged and damaged and did not produce a signal. Ultimately neither beacon was the one that was recovered and did not function. That was two years after being submerged.

So there could be a host of reasons why they are not picking up two. But that would be one of the initial questions I would ask is we should be hearing two signals.

BLACKWELL: So when you say that there is the possibility, and you bring up Air France of it being dislodged. Is it possible that the way that your beacons are connected to the flight data recorders that they could be picking up a beacon that is not connected to the flight data recorder?

PATEL: If an accident happened and damage was done, you are correct, Victor, that is a scenario that could happen. But the intent of the beacon is to provide a proximate location so even if it had drifted a little bit, at least you know where the debris field could be. These beacons were designed to find that needle in the haystack, which is the debris field. If we got lucky in this incident and the beacon is used to find the debris field, hey that is great. At least now we know where to look.

PAUL: All right. We're going to take a quick break here. But I want to give you new information that we are just hearing. We will go to Jim Clancy next; he's in Kuala Lumpur. He has some new information for us apparently regarding that audio recording. And just to remind you, authorities denied victims' families their request to release the recording from the cockpit -- the final audio recordings. They did release transcript; refused to release the actual recordings.

Jim Clancy has just learned some new information about that. We are going live to him in Kuala Lumpur in just a moment. Stay close.


PAUL: If this turns out to be true, it will by far be some of the most extraordinary news we have heard in the last four weeks. The Chinese News State Agency Xinhua reporting that a Chinese patrol ship, just a short while ago, detected a pulse signal out in the Indian Ocean with the frequency of 37.5 kilohertz.

We have confirmed that that is the standard beacon frequency. As they search for Flight 370 from Malaysia, it is possible some say that they may have found the pinging from the black box. That is not confirmed. That is not coming from Australia's joint collaboration center although we are getting word that the collaboration center did know about this pinging or this report from the alleged pulse signal back at lunchtime.

So yes, as we said earlier -- BLACKWELL: A few hours ago.

PAUL: A few hours ago -- several hours ago. So we don't know who might be on their way out there already, what kind of resources they are sending to this particular area at the moment. But that is the latest that we know. And until we have some sort of confirmation, certainly the most promising information we heard on this which the irony of it, what experts believe could be the very last day, that pinger would be emitting a signal.

BLACKWELL: So a development on the search front potentially but also a development in the investigation. Our Jim Clancy is live in Kuala Lumpur. It relates to those audio recordings from air traffic control that families have wanted to hear for some time. What do you have -- Jim.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this week, the families asked to hear the audio recordings for themselves between the pilot and air traffic control. They were not allowed to do it. We have been told even the families of the pilots' families and crew have not been allowed to hear those recordings.

But we did learn that friends of the pilots have listened to those recording in an attempt to determine who said the final "Good night Malaysian 370". We are told tonight that their findings were inconclusive. They could not determine. I don't know if it is the quality of the recording, the quality of the actual transmissions but friends have listened to it unable to discern which pilot might have been the one that said that "Good night Malaysian 370" -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: And that has been the answer to so many questions -- inconclusive. That has been the finding for so many of the avenues in this investigation. Jim, do we know if the friends have not heard them or were not able to determine it, do we know if they'll now, to help the investigation, offer it to some family members?

CLANCY: Look, I would think that the next step would be to analyze some of the recordings, audio recordings that they already have of the pilot, you know. He posted a lot of things to YouTube. He did a lot of talking online. That would be one way to analyze that voice.

I'm not familiar nor an expert on audio identification. But I would think that that would be a digital route perhaps for them to try to determine something. It is not very much to go on when you stop and think about it. "All right, good night." Not "all right, good night." -- that was the erroneous one. "Good night Malaysian 370." You know, it's not much to go on there.

PAUL: Yes. Jim Clancy, thank you so much. Live report there for us out of Kuala Lumpur. We appreciate it so much.

Before we leave, we only have a couple of minutes left but I want to get to Tom Fuentes because Tom has been watching this search and this whole fiasco since the very beginning. And Tom, I want your opinion on what you -- your first reaction to this information from the Xinhua State News Agency in China that perhaps a pulse signal has been found. TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good morning, Christi and Victor. My first reaction was extreme skepticism. And I think that partially because previously released information by the government of China has proven to be false. In fact the satellite information you mentioned earlier, they took back later and said it was released by accident.

This is a government-controlled news agency. It is not a free press situation where somebody leaked it and it went out. It is a government-controlled newspaper with a government-controlled reporter on a government-controlled ship. The fact that this got out and then it's so ambiguous on top of it as far as location and, you know, more information about it and the fact that the report doesn't mention whether or not it was disseminated to the Australians and Malaysians. Just from the beginning, I was very skeptical that this may be something that they will walk back later and you know, let's just get on that site and find out.

One aspect about it that is better is all the satellite technology was five days old. The debris on top of the ocean is moving. If it's something sitting on the bottom pinging, it is not going anywhere. They should be able to have a better chance to get it.

BLACKWELL: And we know the resources are headed there. Tom Fuentes, thank you.

FUENTES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We will, of course, continue the coverage of this morning's breaking news. And join us back here at the top of the hour at 10:00 Eastern. But for now, we're going to send it to Michael Smerconish who will continue the breaking news coverage there in New York.