Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been missing for more than a month, but though the missing flight’s black box has now expired officials still believe it can be found.
Search crew have sent a robotic submarine to the floor of the Indian Ocean on Monday, one that will painstakingly scour the seabed for the missing airplane. They are still actively pursuing other promising leads, including an oil slick close to where the last underwater pings from the black box were detected.
Crews collected oil samples from the slick and have sent them back to Australia for testing, which search coordinator Angus Houston said could take several days.
It is believed that the batteries in the black box are dead, so searchers will be using the series of pings that had already been emitted as a basis for the search.
“Today is day 38 of the search,” Houston told a news conference. “We haven’t had a single detection in six days, so I guess it’s time to go under water.”
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared March 8 during a trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board. The search took a wide area in the week that followed, with theories that it could be anywhere from central Asia to deep in the Indian Ocean.
The search eventually narrowed in on a stretch of the Indian Ocean far off the coast of Australia, with searchers focusing on pings believed to be coming from the missing flight’s black box.
Though search crews now believe they have a rough area of where to search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, Houston warned that it may still be lost.
“I would caution you against raising hopes that the deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle will result in the detection of the aircraft wreckage. It may not,” Houston said. “However, this is the best lead we have, and it must be pursued vigorously. Again, I emphasize that this will be a slow and painstaking process.”
Though the black box is likely dead, authorities have other clues in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Investigators believe the co-pilot tried to make a call with his cell phone after the flight was diverted, authorities revealed this weekend.