PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister says officials have narrowed the search zone for the missing Malaysian jetliner. And he says they are "very confident" that the underwater signals they have heard are from the plane's black box recorders.
But Tony Abbott says those electronic signals are fading.
He spoke during a visit to China, where he briefed President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) on the search for Flight 370, which vanished five weeks ago on a flight from Malaysia to Beijing.
Search crews are racing against time because the batteries powering the recorders' locator beacons last only about a month. It will be hard to find the devices after the batteries fail, because the water in the area is 15,000 feet deep.
Abbott told the Chinese leader that the next steps in the search will be a "very long, slow and painstaking process."
139-a-13-(Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, at news conference)-"box on MH370"-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it's highly likely that the series of underwater signals detected in a remote patch of the Indian Ocean are coming from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. (11 Apr 2014)
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138-a-17-(Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, at news conference)-"signal finally expires"-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he fears that readings from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes are getting harder and harder to pick up. (11 Apr 2014)
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APPHOTO NY117: In this photo taken on Thursday, April 10, 2014, and released by the U.S. Navy, Airman 2nd Class Karl Shinn keeps watch out a window while flying in a P-8A Poseidon aircraft during a search mission looking for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Chief Spc. Keith DeVinney) (10 Apr 2014)
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