MH370 UPDATE: Black Box Batteries May Be Dead

Photo Credit: o0o0xmods0o0o from morguefile.com

Photo Credit: o0o0xmods0o0o from morguefile.com

Today there was an update on Malaysia Airline Flight 370. There have been no electronic pings detected since Tuesday, which means the batteries in the black boxes may have died. Search operations intensified today, with over two dozen ships and aircraft scouring the southern Indian Ocean for any signs of debris.

The search area is now covering about 22,000 square miles approximately 1,400 miles northwest of Perth, Australia.

“No one should underestimate the difficulties of the task still ahead of us,” said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. “I don’t want anyone to think that we are certain of success, or that success, should it come, is going to happen in the next week or even month. There’s a lot of difficulty and a lot of uncertainty left.”

The batteries only last a certain amount of days, and there’s hope that there may be a few days of life left in them. It’s already been more than a month since the plane went missing.

“We’re now into Day 37 of this tragedy,” aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas said. “The battery life on the beacons is supposed to last 30 days. We’re hoping it might last 40 days. What they’re hoping for is to get one more, maybe two more pings so they can do a triangulation of the sounds and try and narrow the (search) area.”

It’s very important that flight data and cockpit voice recorders are recovered, so that they can help determine what happened to the flight. Looking at satellite data, officials believe that the plane went off course hours before crashing. “Investigators trying to determine what happened to the plane are focusing on four areas — hijacking, sabotage and personal or psychological problems of those on board.”

If there are no more pings detected, robotic submersibles will search the ocean floor for any sign of wreckage. Searchers are hoping to find the exact location of the source of the sounds — or as close as they can possibly get — before deploying the Bluefin 21 submersible. They won’t deploy it until they are sure that no other electronic signals will come, and that the search area has been narrowed as much as possible.

“The sub takes six times longer to cover the same area as the ping locator, and will need about six weeks to two months to canvass the current underwater zone. The signals are also coming from 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) below the surface, which is the deepest the sub can dive.”

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