Malaysia Airlines MH370 search well into critical stage as black box dying

Apr 08 2014, 15:11 IST
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Oz seamen search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 debris in Indian Ocean. Reuters Oz seamen search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 debris in Indian Ocean. Reuters
SummaryFrustrations turning to pain as search teams battle time to find Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane.

An Australian ship which picked up possible "pings" from the black box recorders of a missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane has been unable to detect any further signals and time is running out to narrow the massive search, officials said on Tuesday.

Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, said the month-long hunt in the Indian Ocean was at a critical stage given the batteries in the black box beacons had already reached the end of their 30-day expected life.

A U.S. Navy "towed pinger locator" onboard Australia's Ocean Shield picked up two signals consistent with black box locator beacons over the weekend - the first for more than two hours and the second for about 13 minutes.

MH370

A fast response craft from Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield tows Able Seaman Clearance Diver Matthew Johnston as he searches the ocean for debris in the search zone in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 8, 2014. A robotic search vehicle is likely to be sent deep into the Indian Ocean on Tuesday to look for wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner on the sea floor, as officials say the chance of finding anything on the surface has dwindled. Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, said the month-long hunt was at a critical stage given the black box recorder batteries were dying - or had died. (Reuters)

Houston said the signals represented the best lead in the search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane yet, but efforts to pick up the pings again had so far been unsuccessful.

"If we don't get any further transmissions, we have a reasonably large search area of the bottom of the ocean to prosecute and that will take a long, long time. It's very slow, painstaking work," said Houston.

The Malaysia Airlines plane's black boxes record cockpit data and may provide answers about what happened to the plane, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it vanished on March 8 and flew thousands of kilometres off its Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing route.

MH370

A fast response craft from Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield tows Able Seaman Clearance Diver Michael Arnold as he searches the ocean for

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