Search teams now only have a matter of days to find the black box of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 before its batteries finally die. Ships have begun hunting underwater using a ‘towed pinger locator’ in the hope of picking up a signal from the flight recorder before it fades away.
The flight disappeared 28 days ago, and with just 30 days battery life on the data recorder, searchers now need to locate a signal as soon as possible if they are to stand a chance of recovering the flight.
The BBC reports that two ships, the Ocean Shield and HMS Echo, are currently towing equipment with capabilities to detect the black box along a 240km (149 mile) long track. Each is starting a different end of the search path and converging with the other at the centre.
Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, who is head of the Joint Agencies Coordination Centre (JACC), said that the search area was chosen on the basis of satellite data, and is the place of “highest probability as to where [the plane] might have entered the water”.
He added that the JACC are continuing to refine to data, but the search party are currently using “the best data that is available”.
He also said there is “some hope” they may find the aircraft in the area they are searching.
The JACC added that fair weather will help search efforts, with visibility forecast to be 10 km (six miles).
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met staff involved with the search on Friday. He said: “It is probably the most difficult search that’s ever been mounted.
“A large aircraft seems like something that would be easy enough to locate – but a large aircraft that all but disappeared and disappeared into inaccessible oceans is an extraordinary, extraordinary challenge that you’re faced with.”