TODAY   |  April 06, 2014

Faint pings detected in search for missing plane

Two ships searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet in the Indian Ocean have now detected faint traces of sound -- but in two different locations. The race is on to discover if the sounds are connected to the missing plane’s black boxes. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

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>>> the faint signals reportedly detected in the search for malaysia air flight 370. authorities caution it could still be days before they find anything for sure, if there's anything to be found. ian williams is in australia this morning. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, lester. two ships have detected faint traces of sound, but in two very different areas. now the race is on to see whether either is connected to flight mh370's black boxes . aircraft are being rushed to an area in the indian ocean where a chinese detected to have twice detected a pulse-like signal with the same frequency as the ping from the missing aircraft's black boxes .

>> this is an important and encouraging lead, but one which i urge you to continue to treat carefully.

>> reporter: a retired air chief martial also revealed the u.s. navy 's ping locater today picked up sounds in another area. this was 300 miles from the chinese and this, too, is being checked out. the chinese patrol ship reported detecting its pulses in an area 1,000 miles northwest of perth which has a depth of up to 15,000 feet. it said the last sound detected on saturday lasted for 90 seconds. china's state owned xinhua news agency reported the chinese aircraft reported floating objects 50 miles from the site. houston warned that while the news is taken seriously, there is a lot of noise in the ocean and there may be regular leads like this which need to be verified.

>> we will follow up and exhaust every credible lead we receive.

>> reporter: after four weeks of fruitless searching, the hunt for the black boxes which may solve the mystery of what happened to mh370 has become increasingly urgent. the batteries last only about a month. the australian search agency overseeing this operation says it may be putting a lot of stress on the families on board the missing jet.

>> ian williams in australia, thank