Investigators searching for missing Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean are facing some discouraging developments as the ping signals they had been receiving from what they believe are the plane’s black boxes have ended. This can be an indication that the batteries have died.
Black box batteries are only made to last for about a month and since Flight MH370 disappeared over the South China Sea on March 8, it is logical to think the batteries have indeed expired.
Four different pings were sent in the general area where crews have been desperately trying to locate the missing plane for weeks, since the Malaysian Prime Minister stated that the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight ended in the waters of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia.
Since then, a multinational force made of ships armed with ping locators, aircraft, and divers have been scouring the unforgiving area where data indicates Flight MH370 saw its last hours over a month ago.
The signals — being picked up by an Australian ship, which carries a US Navy ping locator — stopped coming through on Tuesday.
Now, searchers face a major set back, as the all important pings to help pin point the exact location where the Malaysia Airlines plane went down have stopped, making a challenging task that much more difficult, as expressed by Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
New allegations by Malaysian authorities suggest that Flight MH370 was “thrown around like a fighter jet” to avoid radar detection.
A report from the Sunday Times indicates the possibility that the Boeing 777 climbed as high as 45,000 feet — 10,000 feet over its normal altitude — and came as low as 5,000 feet. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing a low flying jetliner the day Flight MH370 went missing, however, those statements were not confirmed.
Locating Flight MH370’s black boxes is critical to determining why the pilot, co-pilot, or someone else in the cockpit changed from the intended course and turned off the transponder and ACARS.
If the batteries have indeed expired and are no longer sending pings to help search crews locate Flight MH370, what’s next?
Searchers will have to focus their efforts on locating debris from Flight MH370 floating on the waters off the west coast of Australia, which so far has not yielded any results.
Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales, says most of this debris may already be located more than a hundred miles west of the northernmost search zone, according to comments published in the Mirror.
Search crews can still use computer models of the debris’ possible trajectory back to the location where the missing plane went down.
Meanwhile, the search covering an area of 500-square-miles (about the size of Los Angeles) at the bottom of the sea and 22,203 square miles in the surface of the Indian Ocean, resumes on Sunday, 37-days after air traffic controllers last heard from Flight MH370.
A disturbing report surfaced on Sunday, when a Russian publication alleged that Flight MH370 has been taken to Afghanistan and all the passengers are alive, but held as hostages. One more bizarre story surrounding the biggest mystery in modern aviation.