Within just days of obtaining the needed hydrophone data for search and triangulation, an exciting match was found for an implosion event. Most of that time was spent focusing on timing around the 7th Arc, and of course following a false lead or two.
The signal arrived at Perth around 0500 GMT, reaching at least seven hydrophones. It is the strongest and clearest acoustic event for several hours.
It had been dismissed as an ice event because the Cape Leeuwin hydrophone bearing is far South of the 7th Arc, grazing the Western edge of Antarctica where ice event detections are very common all along the coast. The HA08 recordings and event bearings after 0500 were needed to make the match. Only the CTBTO apparently analyzed those.
The key came when matching it with a very similar Diego Garcia H08 hydrophone signal and an earlier Rottnest Perth Canyon candidate. The arrival times on the match are consistent, but far from the ice. Two bearings from the H01 and H08 triads, plus three triangulations all converge to a specific location that’s closer to Antarctica than the 7th Arc.
Although it’s far from the current search area requiring another 2.5 hrs flying time, it’s consistent because the flight path goes directly over the center of the area already searched. It also passes over an early intense aerial search area based on debris spotted by satellites two weeks after the plane went missing.
Because of an earlier retraction plus the different scenario of more fuel on board than documented, a very conservative approach is being taken to eliminate sources of error and any lingering doubts. So far, everything is consistent with an implosion event.
Had a contract been established with the CTBTO to access the recordings, they would be requiring first review and permission to report on the discovery. If the CTBTO recordings were openly released in 2014, a crowd sourcing approach would likely have found the event very quickly by looking beyond the standard detection approaches.