The Malaysia Airlines flight 370 search has gone underwater as crews try to race against time to find the lost airplane’s black boxes.
An international search crew that includes an Australian navy ship, a pinger locator from the US Navy, and a British ship with underwater search gear have converged on a 150-mile track in the southern Indian Ocean.
The data recorders on the black boxes emit a ping that can be detected by equipment on the ships, but the devices only transmit for 30 days after a crash. That means the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 must be completed within days before the window has closed.
“The locater beacon will last about a month before it ceases its transmissions – so we’re now getting pretty close to the time when it might expire,” said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search.
“The area of highest probability as to where the aircraft might have entered the water is the area where the underwater search will commence,” Houston added. “It’s on the basis of data that only arrived very recently and it’s the best data that is available.”
The Malaysia Airlines flight 370 search has kicked into high gear with as many as 10 military planes, four civilian jets, and nine ships taking part in the search on Friday. Crews are focusing on finding floating wreckage that could point them in the best direction to begin searching for the black boxes.
“I think there’s still a great possibility of finding something on the surface,” Houston said. “There’s lots of things in aircraft that float.”
The international crews trolling the Indian Ocean aren’t the only ones in on the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 search now. Many amateur airplane buffs have also pitched in, poring over satellite pictures in the hopes of finding the plane’s resting place.