Last updated Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:03am

Global satellite company Inmarsat revealed today that it had picked up faint, electronic pulses or 'pings' from the missing Malaysian aircraft hours after it was last heard, but did not elaborate on when or how long the signals were received. A member of a rescue team seen during a search and rescue operation to find the missing jet in the Straits of Malacca today. — Reuters picGlobal satellite company Inmarsat revealed today that it had picked up faint, electronic pulses or 'pings' from the missing Malaysian aircraft hours after it was last heard, but did not elaborate on when or how long the signals were received. A member of a rescue team seen during a search and rescue operation to find the missing jet in the Straits of Malacca today. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Global satellite company Inmarsat revealed today that it had registered “routine, automated signals” from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during its flight from Kuala Lumpur.

The news adds to the intrigue surrounding the aircraft’s disappearance, particularly as it appears to corroborate reports that said satellites had picked up faint, electronic pulses or “pings” from MH370 hours after it was last heard from.

Inmarsat, a London-based firm, reported its findings in a statement on its website but did not elaborate on when or how long the signals were received.

“This information was provided to our partner SITA, which in turn has shared it with Malaysia Airlines,” it said in the statement, adding that further information should be obtained from MAS, the owner of the Boeing 777 aircraft that went missing.

SITA is a global specialist in air transport communications and information technology.

Earlier this morning, Reuters reported that satellites had picked up faint electronic pulses from the aircraft after its disappearance, which it said suggested that the plane’s maintenance troubleshooting system were “switched on and ready to communicate” with satellites at the time.

Citing sources, the report said the system “pings” about once every hour and in the case of MH370, around five or six such pulses were heard. This could mean that MH370, which was ferrying 239 people, had continued to fly on for a number of hours after it left the radar screens.

Rescue efforts have now expanded to include the Indian Ocean, following fresh leads that a US experts said shows an “indication” that the plane had flown in that direction.

If proven true, it could make an already daunting operation even more difficult to conduct and coordinate as the sheer size of the Indian Ocean would increase the search area exponentially.

But the chances of finding the plane intact — seven days after flight MH370 was to hand landed in Beijing — in the world’s third largest water body are looking slim.

In the Gallery


  • Muslims perform a special prayer for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane at the departure hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 13, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • The Royal Malaysian Navy corvette KD Terengganu and a Sea Hawk helicopter from the USS Pinckney conduct a search for a missing MH370 in the Gulf of Thailand March 12, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman wearing a mask against the haze walks past a board saying ‘Pray for MH370’ in front of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman who cries is seen through a door of a room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, at a hotel in Beijing, March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • College students in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, China hold placards near lit up candles as they pray for passengers of the missing MH370 plane, March 13, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • College students light up candles as they pray for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, March 13, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Malaysia Airlines Commercial Director Hugh Dunleavy sits in front of a large projection screen at a briefing for the family members of passengers on board the missing MH370 aircraft, at a hotel in Beijing March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman shouts to journalists, in front of a hotel in Beijing, March 14, 2014, asking not to take pictures of families of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370. — Reuters pic

  • A woman cries as she walks out of a room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a hotel in Beijing, March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A family member of a passenger on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 reacts during a briefing from the Malaysia Airlines at a hotel in Beijing March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Family members of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 sit on chairs as they wait for news at a hotel in Beijing March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Philippine Navy crew members onboard the Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas Apolinario Mabini (Patrol Ship 36) scour the West Philippine Sea, as they search for the missing Malaysia Airline MH370 plane, in this picture supplied by the Philippine Navy.

  • DCA chief Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya at a press conference on MH370 today at KLIA in Sepang, on March 13, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • DCA chief Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya at a press conference on MH370 today at KLIA in Sepang, on March 13, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A man reads a Tamil newspaper with a story about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on its front page in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A 'Pray for MH370' message displayed at the digital board at the Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (PLUS) expressway near the E6 link. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A member of a rescue team takes part in a search and rescue operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the Straits of Malacca March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A member of a rescue team looks through binoculars during a search and rescue operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in the Straits of Malacca March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A 'Pray for MH370' projection is seen on the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) building in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

The Indian Ocean has an average depth of 13,002 feet (3,963 metres) while its deepest point, the Java Trench is believed to be at -23,812 feet (-7,258 metres), according to information in the CIA World Factbook.

But according to US Navy Commander William Marks of the USS Kidd, the vessel can spot “something the size of a small wooden crate or basketball on the surface of the water.”

The vessel was dispatched to the Indian Ocean following reports on the possibility that MH370’s believed mid-air turn-back had taken the aircraft in that direction.

The Boeing 777 aircraft had enough fuel to fly up to 8.30am on March 8, leaving it with some seven hours of fuel in its tanks when it lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control (ATC).

When it disappeared, the plane was flying 120 nautical miles off Kota Baru in the east coast of Malaysia, between the waters of Malaysia and Vietnam.

The current search operation involving 13 countries and dozens of air and sea vessels are already scouring a watery expanse significantly larger than Malaysia’s total land mass of about 330,000 square kilometres.