Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been missing for close to eight months, and now search crews are zeroing in on finding the plane’s black box in what could be a last-ditch attempt to find its final resting place.
The plane went missing March 8 with 239 passenger and crew aboard, and is believed to have crashed in a stretch along the Indian Ocean. But for nearly eight months, search teams have been unable to find any sign of the plane.
Now, with more than 5,400 miles of the ocean floor already searched, crews are focusing on an operational area of 80,000 square miles with a focus on locating the plane’s black box.
But time could be running out. The search area is expected to be finished by May, and if there is no sign of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 by that point, it’s unclear what the next step might be.
“Assuming no significant delays with vessels, equipment or from the weather, the current underwater search area may be largely completed around May 2015,” the Australia Transportation Safety Bureau said in an operational update.
The ATSB noted that it is using data from an underwater survey to focus the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
“In addition to locating the aircraft, the underwater search aims to map the MH370 debris field in order to identify and prioritize the recovery of specific aircraft components, including flight recorders, which will assist with the Malaysian investigation,” the ATSB noted.
But many are already losing hope of ever finding the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Nigel Cawthorne, author of the book Flight MH370: The Mystery, said it’s highly unlikely that anything could be found in the treacherous conditions of the southern Indian Ocean.
“The current there is the worst in the world, the weather there is the worst in the world and the sea floor there is less well-known than the surface of the Moon,” Cawthorne told Britain’s Express newspaper. “It is the most remote part of this planet.”
Cawthorne added that search crews may be nowhere near the plane.
“There’s no sensible theory to where it is,” Cawthorne said.
The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has already covered an area the size of Connecticut. Not a single piece of debris has been found yet.