A Malaysia airlines plane is being pulled at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
A Malaysia airlines plane is being pulled at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. EPA - Ahmad Yusni

PM 'confident' signal is from MH370 black box

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has said he is increasingly confident signals received in the search for MH370 are from the plane's black boxes.

Speaking at a press conference in China,  he said searchers were were racing against the clock before the black box battery died.

"We're very confident the signals we're detecting are from the black box from MH370," he told reporters in Shanghai. "We're hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires."

But  confusion continued in the already baffling search, as the chief coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, released a statement appearing to pour cold water on the claims.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon had been determined as not related to an aircraft underwater locator beacon.

"On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370. I will provide a further update if, and when, further information becomes available."

An unconfirmed report the black box from MH370 had been found hit media across Australia early this afternoon.

Perth radio station 6PR Tweeted the report, from aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas.

News Corp reported Mr Thomas, who is  the editor-in-chief of the website airlineratings.com and executive editor of AirlineReview.com,  as saying the Ocean Shield and the HMS Echo have both left the search area "at speed" and sources had told him there was a possibility they had "triangulated" and located the black box.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded by saying said  the search area for the missing plane had been narrowed down.

He said authorities were "very confident" signals being monitored by search teams were coming from the aircraft's black box. 

Earlier today an Australian P3 Orion aircraft has detected another possible signal from a black box recorder in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is heading the search, said the aircraft detected the signal near the Australian Navy ship Ocean Shield on Thursday.