News / Asia

Malaysia Jet Search Area Narrows

In this April 9, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion flies past Australian Defense vessel Ocean Shield on a mission to drop sonar buoys to assist in the acoustic search of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
In this April 9, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion flies past Australian Defense vessel Ocean Shield on a mission to drop sonar buoys to assist in the acoustic search of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
— The search area for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was further narrowed on Wednesday. That came as authorities confirmed that a vessel in the Indian Ocean had detected two more pings believed to be from the missing passenger jet's black boxes.
 
Officials are expressing more confidence that remnants of the Boeing 777 believed to be at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean will be located.
 
A U.S. Navy device being towed by an Australian naval ship detected additional transmissions on Tuesday, after another pair of signals were captured days earlier.
 
The chief of the multi-national search coordination center in Perth, Australia, Angus Houston said, however, that it is still premature to declare that the plane’s location has been discovered.
 
"I believe we are searching in the right area but we need to visually identify aircraft wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370," said Houston.
 
The search has now been narrowed to 75,000 square kilometers, an area nearly the size of the Czech Republic.
 
Officials on Wednesday announced that the earlier pings detected by the American towed pinger locator attached to the Ocean Shield vessel did not originate from "natural sources" and are consistent with those from flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
 
A top Australian military officer said a thick layer of silt on the seafloor could be muffling the black box transmissions, posing a further challenge to locating the wreckage at a depth few submarines would be able to reach.
 
Before it is feasible to deploy any unmanned underwater vehicles, authorities said, searchers really need to narrow the source of the sonar pings to within a few hundred meters. That is making the search a race against time as the batteries in the black boxes are already past their expected 30-day life.
 
The expensive search, which government officials in Australia and other countries acknowledge is costing millions of dollars per day, is turning into one of the most comprehensive such undertakings in history.
 
An attempt to retrieve parts of the plane and any human remains on the seabed some 4,500 meters deep would be an even more complex and expensive operation. It took nearly two years to recover the black boxes from the Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. Those flight recorders were found at a depth of nearly 4000 meters. 
 
The flight from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 went off course from its route to Beijing and vanished, prompting an extensive search in what initially turned out to be the wrong areas. 
 
Most of the 239 people aboard the plane were Chinese.
 
  • A relative of Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 takes a nap against the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers during a briefing held by Malaysia officials at a hotel in Beijing, April 11, 2014.
  • A woman, the daughter of a Chinese passenger on Flight MH370 shows her mobile phone displaying a photo of her father near the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers at a hotel in Beijing, April 11, 2014.
  • A woman ties a message card for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2014.
  • Spectators take photos of a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft as it comes in for a landing at Perth International Airport after returning from the ongoing search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Perth, Australia, April 10, 2014.
  • A man places a candle on top of a white board set up to place messages for passengers on Flight MH370 during a candlelight vigil in Kuala Lumpur, April 6, 2014.
  • People place candles on a banner reading, "Pray for MH370" after a special prayer for passengers onboard the missing plane at the Malaysian Chinese Association headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, April 6, 2014.
  • A U.S. Navy towed pinger locator is pictured on a dock at HMAS Stirling naval base near Perth.
  • Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 is pictured during a search for Flight MH370, in the south Indian Ocean, April 5, 2014. (CNS photo)
  • The Bluefin 21, an Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle, is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean, April 4, 2014.
  • A flight lieutenant monitors a TAC station onboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion during search operations for Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, April 4, 2014.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid