SYDNEY - Australian officials said on Monday signals picked up by a black box detector attached to an Australian ship searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were consistent with aircraft flight recorders.

"Clearly, this is a most promising lead," Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, told a news conference in Perth. Houston, a retired air chief marshal, said two signals had been detected off Australia's northwest coast.

Confirmation of whether the signals were emitted from the Malaysian plane, missing since March 8 with 239 people on board, could take several days, Houston said.

The US Navy "pinger locator" connected to the Australian ship Ocean Shield was trawling an area some 300 nautical miles away from separate reports by Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 of a pulse signal with the same frequency of a black box.

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