It’s been one month since family members of the passengers on board Flight MH370 saw their loved ones, but with the most promising leads to date, there is some hope the missing plane may finally be located, as Navy divers search the waters following — what investigators believe — are pings detected from the plane’s black boxes.
Flight MH370 went missing on March 8, when Malaysian air traffic controllers lost contact with the cockpit. It was later revealed that someone — the pilot, co-pilot, or an intruder — turned off the transponder and ACARS, both of which are used as a means to track the plane on radar.
Even though both instruments were disabled, ACARS continued to transmit data to a satellite in the northern Indian Ocean and with that data, investigators have determined that Flight MH370 ended its ill-fated voyage in the waters of the southern Indian Ocean, off of the coast of Perth, Australia.
Pin-pointing the actual area where Flight MH370 went down has been very challenging and one official compared the search to the proverbial needle in a haystack saying that first they had to find the haystack. That illustrates just how complex and daunting a task Malaysian authorities face.
On Tuesday — the one month anniversary of the disappearance of MH370 — the Malaysian Defense Minister said he is “cautiously hopeful” that search and rescue crews looking for the missing flight will be able to make a positive announcement in days “if not hours.”
The comments follow the announcement by the Australian team coordinating the search, stating that they are “very close” to finding the area where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed and Chinese, Australian, and US Navy ping locator vessels reported hearing signals that are consistent with those emitted by the plane’s black boxes — the cockpit voice recorder and data recorder.
With battery time running out, it is critical that searchers find some form of evidence in the case of the disappearance of Flight MH370, one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
The pings were picked up about 1,040 miles west of Perth, raising hope of family members desperate for news on their loved ones and frustrated search teams, who have worked tirelessly ever since Flight MH370 went missing last month.
Angus Houston, head of the Australian search, told reporters he is more optimistic than he was last week and explained the first ping signal detected was held for about two hours, before the Australian vessel Ocean Shield lost contact.
Speaking to the British publication Telegraph Houston said:
“We are encouraged that we are very close to where we need to be.”
“On this occasion two distinct pinger returns were audible. Significantly, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.”
“In the search so far it is probably the best information we have had. We are trying to fix the position on the basis of the transmissions.”
“We are now in a very well defined search area, which hopefully will eventually yield the information that we need to say that MH370 might have entered the water just here.”
During the month-long frustrating search for Flight MH370, this is the most concrete evidence, in an otherwise empty mission to recover the black boxes that will hopefully give investigators a better idea of what happened to the Malaysian airliner one month ago today.