Crews searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have failed to relocate the sounds previously heard deep in the Indian Ocean, raising fears that the batteries in the plane’s black box may have died.
Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, who is heading the search, said that sound locating equipment on board the Ocean Shield ship did not pick up any trace of a signal earlier today, as it set off the relocate the ‘pings’ it discovered yesterday.
The signals had led to hopes of a breakthrough in the search for the missing airliner, but if the black box’s locators have now died, it will be immensely difficult to find the plane on the ocean floor.
The batteries tend to last for one month, and today is exactly one month since the plane disappeared.
ACM Houston said: “There have been no further contacts with any transmission and we need to continue (searching) for several days right up to the point at which there’s absolutely no doubt that the batteries will have expired.”
The Telegraph reports that if no signal has been found by that time, a submarine on board to Ocean Shield will be deployed to search for debris on the seabed. If it finds debris, the crew will photograph the wreckage.
Earlier today, Australia’s acting prime minister, Warren Truss, apologised for incorrectly stating that a sub would be deployed today. He said that the error was down to a ‘misunderstanding’, and acknowledged that the sub would not be used.