A Chinese patrol ship has detected pulse signals that could be linked to the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

A black-box detector on the Chinese vessel Haixun 01 received the signal with a frequency of 37.5 Kz per second in waters of the southern Indian Ocean, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua said Saturday.

The signal, whose connection to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has not yet been confirmed, was detected at 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, Xinhua said.

According to the Chinese Communist Party publication People's Daily, the frequency detected coincides with that of the sample black box provided by the missing airplane's U.S. manufacturer, Boeing.

The Malaysian aircraft disappeared around 40 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people aboard, more than 150 of them of Chinese nationality. Since then, investigators have established that it turned sharply to the west to cross the Malaysian peninsula before heading toward the southern Indian Ocean, for reasons unknown.

The search operation to find the plane, which is believed to have crashed into the sea when it ran out of fuel, is the most extensive of its kind ever made, with the participation of 10 military aircraft, three civilian planes and 11 vessels of different nationalities.

A British nuclear submarine joined the force on Friday to begin an underwater search.

Finding the plane's black box is now a matter of great urgency, since in just four days its batteries will run out and it will stop emitting its ping signals. EFE