After weeks of searching vast swaths of ocean, investigators now have their "most promising" lead yet in finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
A pinger locator in the Indian Ocean has detected signals consistent with those sent by a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder, the head of the Australian agency coordinating search operations said Monday.
The sounds were heard at a depth of 4,500 meters (about 14,800 feet), retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.
"We've got a visual indication on a screen, and we've also got an audible signal. And the audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon," Houston said.
"We are encouraged that we are very close to where we need to be."
But it could take days before officials can confirm whether the signals did indeed come from the plane, which fell off the radar on March 8 with 239 people on board.
"In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast," Houston said. "I would ask all of you to treat this information cautiously and responsibly. ... We haven't found the aircraft yet."
At least one investigator has described the search not as finding a needle in a haystack, but rather trying to find the haystack.
"It's very exciting, very exciting," forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg said Monday. "I think we have finally found the haystack."
And Malaysian authorities are hopeful there will be a positive development in the next few days, if not hours, acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters Monday.
But some relatives of those on board haven't lost hope, despite Monday's news of the promising signals.
"If the plane is there, its there. We can't change it," the husband of one passenger said. "But I am still hoping for a miracle to happen."
But time could be running out in tracing the sounds. In a few hours or days, the pingers aboard the plane stop transmitting for good.
The batteries inside the beacons, which are designed to start sending signals when a plane crashes into water, last about 30 days after the devices are activated.
Monday marks the 31st day of the search.
New flight details
While searchers may be getting closer to the plane itself, a fresh mystery has emerged about what happened during the flight.
The aircraft skirted Indonesian airspace as it went off the grid and veered off course, a senior Malaysian government source told CNN on Sunday.
After reviewing radar track data from neighboring countries, officials have concluded that the plane curved north of Indonesia before turning south toward the southern Indian Ocean, the Malaysian source said.
Whoever was flying the plane, the source said, could have been trying to avoid radar detection.
Like most details in the case that's baffled investigators ever since the plane dropped off Malaysian military radar, it depends on whom you ask.
CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes cautioned against assuming a nefarious reason for steering the plane around Indonesia's airspace.
"I think the plane's being intentionally flown there, but I think it's still a mystery as to why. ... I think they would probably guess they're not avoiding anybody's radar, because there's a lot of radar in the area," he said. "I think they're avoiding getting shot down or colliding with another airplane."
CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien said the new route includes designated waypoints that pilots and air traffic controllers use.
"This particular route that is laid out happens to coincide with some of these named intersections," he said. "So what it shows is an experienced pilot somewhere in the mix on this."
Investigators haven't said who they think might have flown the plane off course or why.
But Hussein, Malaysia's acting transportation minister, said Monday that Indonesian military authorities told the chief of the Malaysian defense force that they had "no sighting" of the plane the night it disappeared.
The possibility that the plane was hijacked by someone who knew how to fly a commercial jet is still on the table. Authorities have also been investigating the plane's captain and co-pilot. And they haven't ruled out mechanical problems as a possible cause of the plane's diversion.
So far, no physical evidence of the plane's eventual whereabouts has been found, leaving many relatives of those on board trapped in uncertainty.
The HMS Echo, a British navy ship equipped with advanced detection gear, sailed into the area of the southern Indian Ocean on Monday morning (Sunday afternoon ET) where a Chinese crew had detected two audio signals.
The area of detection is roughly 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) west-northwest of Perth, according to coordinates reported by Chinese state media.
The arrival of the Echo will be critical to the search for the missing Boeing 777. It has state-of-the-art sonar and is capable of mapping the ocean floor, which is about 4,500 meters (2.8 miles) deep in the focused search area.
It should be able to help determine more confidently whether audio signals picked up on Friday and Saturday by the Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 came from the plane.
The Chinese said the electronic pulses - detected only 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) apart - were consistent with those emitted by pingers on an aircraft's black boxes.
Sounds travel long distances underwater, Houston said, making it difficult to ascertain their sources. If detectors were near a pinger, they would pick up the signal for a more sustained period.
Houston also said that search authorities were informed Sunday that the Ocean Shield, an Australian naval vessel equipped with sophisticated listening equipment, has detected "an acoustic noise" in another area of the ocean to the north.
'Most promising lead'
The Ocean Shield, which has a high-tech pinger locator borrowed from the U.S. Navy, will continue to pursue the sound it heard. If that lead turns cold, it will move to the other detection area, a journey that will take at least a day, officials said.
On Monday morning, the Ocean Shield was "continuing investigations in its own area," Australian authorities said.
"At the moment, the most promising lead appears to be the one associated with Haixun 01," Houston said.
The pulses registered by the Chinese ship are of particular interest because they occurred in an area that fits with the latest calculation by experts of roughly where the plane is likely to have entered the water, Houston said.
They were words heard around the world as investigators searched for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
Weeks ago, Malaysian authorities said the last message from the airplane cockpit was, "All right, good night."
The sign-off to air traffic controllers, which investigators said was spoken by the plane's copilot, was among the few concrete details officials released in a mystery that's baffled investigators since the Boeing 777 disappeared with 239 people aboard on March 8.
There's only one problem. It turns out, it wasn't true.
On Tuesday, Malaysia's Transport Ministry released the transcript of the conversations between the Flight 370's cockpit and air traffic control. The final words from the plane: "Good night Malaysian three seven zero."
Malaysian authorities gave no explanation for the discrepancy between the two quotes. And authorities are still trying to determine whether it was the plane's pilot or copilot who said them.
The final quote is routine and is not a sign that anything untoward occurred aboard the flight, said CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo.
But the change in wording weeks into the search for the missing plane raises questions about how Malaysian officials have handled the investigation.
"It speaks to credibility issues, unfortunately," Schiavo said.
"We haven't had a straight, clear word that we can have a lot of fidelity in," said Michael Goldfarb, former chief of staff at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. "We have the tragedy of the crash, we have the tragedy of an investigation gone awry and then we have questions about where we go from here."
Malaysian authorities have defended their handling of the situation.
Acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Monday that authorities were not hiding anything by declining to release some details of the missing flight. Some details are part of ongoing investigations into what happened to the plane, he said.
"We are not hiding anything," he said. "We are just following the procedure that is being set."
Hussein said the transcript released Tuesday offered "no indication of anything abnormal."
Thousands of commuters across the South are desperate after spending 12 hours or more stuck in traffic because of a storm that brought the region's biggest cities to their knees.
Two inches of snow isn't supposed to turn highways into campsites. Backups aren't supposed to last all day, through the night, and into the following morning.
And yet, here they were - hundreds of motorists across Alabama and Georgia - still hunched over in their cars Wednesday morning, feeling the aftereffects of a snow shower that hit the states more than 12 hours earlier.
In Atlanta, seven students children were still making their way home on a school bus at 5:30 a.m. ET Wednesday morning - a full 16 hours after school let out and they got on.
To see more, visit CNN.com and to hear CNN's Jason Evans describe his ten hour struggle to get home in the Southern snow in Atlanta, click on the video above.
The commuter train that jumped its tracks in the Bronx was barreling into a curve at nearly three times the posted speed when it derailed, killing four passengers, federal safety officials said Monday.
Preliminary data from the event recorders aboard the train clocked it at 82 mph as it approached the 30-mph curve, where the Hudson and Harlem rivers converge, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener told reporters. The data show the engineer cut the throttle and slammed on the brakes, but those moves came "very late in the game," Weener said.
"This is raw data off the event recorders, so it tells us what happened. It doesn't tell us why it happened," Weener said.
Investigators questioned the engineer, William Rockefeller, and the rest of the train crew on Monday. Rockefeller told investigators he applied the brakes, but the train didn't slow down, according to a law enforcement official who was at the scene and is familiar with the investigation.
But while the cause of the derailment has not yet been determined, investigators have seen no indication of brake problems, Weener said.
All seven coaches and the locomotive came off the tracks in the Sunday morning crash on New York's Metro-North Hudson line. In addition to the four dead, at least 67 more were hurt. Three remained in critical condition Monday night, and 16 others were still hospitalized, hospitals told CNN.
The train's recorded speed is not only far faster than the rated speed for the curve where the derailment occurred, it's faster than the 70 mph posted for the section of track that led into the curve, Weener said. The force of the crash ripped apart the rails and a section of the track bed, leaving chunks of concrete strewn about the scene.
David Schanoes, a former deputy chief of field operations for the Metro-North line, said the data is "uncannily similar" to a July rail crash in Spain that left 79 dead.
A commuter train derailed in a curve in the New York borough of the Bronx on Sunday, killing four people and leaving dozens hurt, investigators said.
All seven passenger cars and the locomotive jumped the tracks near the Spuyten Duyvil station, about 10 miles north of Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal, the National Transportation Safety Board reported. Three of the dead were thrown out of the train as it "came off the track and was twisting and turning," New York Fire Department Chief Edward Kilduff told reporters.
Surviving passenger Amanda Swanson told CNN the windows of the coaches broke out, and "the gravel came flying up in our faces."
"I really didn't know if I would survive," said Swanson, who put her bag in front of her face to block the rubble. "The train felt like it was on its side and dragging for a long time. ... The whole thing felt like slow motion."
The train was en route to Grand Central from Poughkeepsie, 74 miles up the Hudson River, when it derailed about 7:20 a.m., NTSB member Earl Weener said Sunday. At least 67 people were injured, said Joe Bruno, New York's commissioner of emergency management, and 11 remained in critical condition Sunday evening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
They sifted through the darkness, hoping their flashlights would shine on something - anything - salvageable.
Instead, they found their life's belongings strewn in pieces among heaps of rubble where their homes once stood.
But they were the fortunate ones - the ones who survived after 81 reported tornadoes tore through the Midwest on Sunday. The storms killed six people and destroyed at least 70 homes in Illinois alone CNN's Indra Petersons reports.
"These storms having been moving so fast today, it's been hard to keep up," storm chaser Tony Laubach told CNN as he watched a tornado touch down outside Lebanon, Indiana.
In their aftermath, the storms left impassable roads, widespread outages and blocks and blocks of homes stripped bare. Hundreds of thousands were affected; the economic impact in the millions.
"A lot of people have a pile of rubble still, and I don't have anything," said Michelle Crumrine. "It's gone. I don't know where it went."
Crumrine was out of town when her neighborhood in Washington, Illinois, was hit. She returned to a wasteland.
Of all the cities ravaged by the storms, this city of 10,000 people in central Illinois was perhaps the hardest hit.
"It was complete destruction," said resident Anthony Khoury. "There are people in the streets crying."
As the dark twister churned toward his home, Khoury kept his camera glued to the window - and prayed. "Our father, thou art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name."
"The tornado happened in my backyard, and you can hear people screaming," Khoury told CNN's iReport. "We were freaking out."
Investigators have yet to determine the extent of the wrath - including exactly how many tornadoes touched down. Two National Weather Service teams will survey the damage Monday - one in Washington, and one in east central Illinois.
No one knows why he picked this day, this time, these victims.
It was the first day back from fall break at Sparks Middle School. Students milled about, waiting to hear the morning bell.
Within moments, two 12-year-old students were wounded. A beloved teacher and military veteran lay dead. And the young shooter - armed with his parents' gun - took his own life, silencing any way of understanding what he was thinking.
Before Monday morning, the young gunman seemed like the antithesis of a school shooter.
"He was really a nice kid," schoolmate Amaya Newton told CNN. "He would make you smile when you were having bad day."
But for whatever reason, the boy, whom authorities have not identified, took his parents' handgun to school, a federal law enforcement source said.
"I believe it was because I saw him getting bullied a couple of times, and I think he took out his bullying," Amaya said.
Amaya said she thought the two students at the Nevada school were friends of the shooter.
"It's too early to say whether he was targeting specific people or just going on an indiscriminate shooting spree," Reno police Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said.
The rescuer didn't see the teen trapped under the rubble at first. But he heard her scream.
Then he saw a hand sticking out of the rocks, Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze told reporters Tuesday, and he started digging.
Authorities say Gracie Johnson, 13, was the only survivor of a deadly rockslide Monday that killed five members of her family - including her parents, sister and two cousins who were visiting on vacation, CNN's Kyung Lah reports.
The horrifying details of their deaths on a popular mountain trail have shaken this close-knit town of about 3,000 people.
But no one seems to be surprised by what the teen reportedly told the man who helped pull her from the rubble - that her father saved her life.
"She said her dad jumped on top of her to protect her right at the last moment when the rocks were coming down," Sheriff's Deputy Nick Tolsma - the rescuer who first spotted Gracie's hand sticking out from the rocks - told ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday.