Malaysia Flight 370 Black Box Pinger to Sign Off in 10 Days
Time Running Out for Black Box Search As Scanning Equipment Moves into Position
Somewhere, presumably in the southern Indian Ocean, the so-called “pinger” from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is emitting pulses to reveal its location. It will stop sending transmissions on or around April 7, given its battery life of roughly 30 days.
Meanwhile, search crews, which are moving hundreds of miles north from Thursday’s search location, could have as little as five days to find it and hopefully wreckage from the plane.
Once the pinger stops transmitting, the only way to search for wreckage and debris will be to trawl the ocean floor, which is exactly what happened in the case of Air France 447, even though it was known where the plane went down.
Given the complete lack of a sighting, the operation could take years.
The current plan is for an Australian ship to carry a U.S.-supplied Towed Ping Locator-25 to the new search zone, a voyage that will take several days.
On Friday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said that the Boeing 777 is likely not to have traveled as far south into the Indian Ocean as had previously been estimated on March 8 after radar contact was lost.
The new search area is 684 miles (1,100 kilometers) to the north east of the previous one, and was calculated after the analysis of the radar data indicated that the aircraft was traveling at a faster rate of speed than previously estimated and that it therefore would have burnt fuel more quickly.