News / Asia

Ping Detection Narrows Search for MH370

A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon takes off from Perth Airport on route to rejoin the on-going search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Perth, Australia, Apr. 10, 2014.
A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon takes off from Perth Airport on route to rejoin the on-going search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Perth, Australia, Apr. 10, 2014.
VOA News
Search crews have detected more underwater transmissions they believe could belong to the flight data recorder of the missing Malaysian jetliner.

Australian authorities said an Orion surveillance aircraft heard a "possible signal" Thursday in the southern Indian Ocean, near where ships heard similar sounds earlier this week.

Search chief Angus Houston said in a statement "the acoustic data will require further analysis overnight, but shows potential of being from a man-made source."

Houston, who is coordinating the search, on Wednesday said he hopes the developments mean authorities can find the missing Boeing 777 "in the not too distant future."  

Time running out

The pings have helped greatly narrow the search area. But on Thursday, planes and ships continued searching a region stretching 57,000 square kilometers.

Time is running out for authorities to locate the origin of the signals, since the batteries on the black box's locator beacon are set to run out after about 30 days.

The Malaysia Airlines jet, which was carrying 239 people, disappeared on March 8 while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysian authorities believe the plane was deliberately diverted and crashed into the sea. But without wreckage, many are skeptical.

In the Malaysian capital Thursday, salesman Wee Boon Seow said it is hard to be optimistic that search crews are narrowing in on the plane.

"I mean, as a Malaysian, we tend to take everything with a pinch of salt, because there is always this latest development, this latest news about how they discovered the 'pings' in the south Indian Ocean. But I don't know. I'm pretty pessimistic about the news," he said.

Huge international search effort

A total of 14 planes and 13 ships are involved in Thursday's search for the plane, which extends from about 2,300 kilometers northwest of the Australian city of Perth.

If authorities can locate more pings, they plan to deploy a robot submarine to search the ocean floor.

Once the black box is retrieved, authorities will be able to determine what happened to the plane.  Its fate has become one of the most puzzling mysteries in modern aviation.

The plane vanished without any distress calls, and authorities have refused to rule out any possibilities, including hijacking, sabotage or a mechanical malfunction.
 
Low-tech takes center stage
 
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may be using some of the world's most sophisticated tools, but some decidedly low-tech gear still has a major role in cracking one of modern aviation's great mysteries.

 
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, crew members on board an aircraft P-8A Poseidon assist in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, March 16, 2014.In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, crew members on board an aircraft P-8A Poseidon assist in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, March 16, 2014.
x
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, crew members on board an aircraft P-8A Poseidon assist in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, March 16, 2014.
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, crew members on board an aircraft P-8A Poseidon assist in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, March 16, 2014.
While the U.S. Navy's P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane scours the Indian Ocean below with top-secret cameras and sensors, older technologies, such as sonobuoys, as well as divers and human eyesight, are emerging as crucial to the operation.
 
"With all the technology we have, nothing is as important as looking at things with your eyes," U.S. Navy Lieutenant Ken Savage told Reuters during a recent search flight on one of two Poseidons helping with the multi-national effort.
 
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 jetliner vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew. In the most expensive search operation in aviation history, neither satellite nor sensor has yet found any wreckage.
 
That's where the human factor comes in, says David Mearns, a deep sea search and recovery expert who was involved in the search for Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.
 
"Even though it may look simple and rudimentary compared to the undersea work, it's still very important," he said, referring to the visual searches that are key to the mission.
 
"At the end of the day, it's left to eyes on water and men and women to be able to pluck wreckage out of the sea. Those methods are still extremely valid."
 
Keep quiet out there

 
Image provided by the Joint Agency Coordination Center on April 9, 2014, shows a map indicating the locations of signals detected by vessels looking for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean.Image provided by the Joint Agency Coordination Center on April 9, 2014, shows a map indicating the locations of signals detected by vessels looking for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
x
Image provided by the Joint Agency Coordination Center on April 9, 2014, shows a map indicating the locations of signals detected by vessels looking for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
Image provided by the Joint Agency Coordination Center on April 9, 2014, shows a map indicating the locations of signals detected by vessels looking for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
A sophisticated U.S. Navy "Towed Pinger Locator" (TPL) has recently picked up four "pings" consistent with black box locator beacons, helping to narrow the search area and inspiring fresh confidence in the search.

But the deep ocean is a very noisy place, prompting Australia this week to deploy a World War II-era technology, the sonobuoy, to help the TPL search for the black box recorders.
 
All 84 sonobuoys are equipped with a hydrophone listening device, which is dangled some 1,000 feet (305 meters) below the surface and can transmit data to search aircraft via radio signals.
 
Crucially, the sonobuoys are quiet where higher-tech search planes and ships might interfere with the delicate task.

"That does provide a lot of sensors in the vicinity of the Ocean Shield without having a ship there to produce the background noise," said Commodore Peter Leavy, the operational head of the Australian search, referring to an Australian Naval
vessel helping in the search.
 
The Australian Navy has this week released photographs of divers working alongside the Ocean Shield, which is carrying the TPL. While the TPL may have futuristic listening capabilities that allow it to hear far better than the human ear, it lacks
what may be the most important tool for when debris is finally found: hands.
 
"There are divers from the Royal Australian Navy in the search area for this specific purpose," U.S. Navy Captain Mark Matthews told Reuters.
 
 Additional information was provided by Reuters.
 
Error rendering storify.

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sally from: Australia
April 10, 2014 4:28 PM
Sorry, but if you read the article properly, it does not say the plane has been located. It states " Search crews have detected more underwater transmissions they believe could belong to the flight data recorder of the missing Malaysian jetliner." I sincerely hope it is the plane and families and loved ones can have closure :)


by: Nicholas Akuamoah-Boateng from: Kumasi- Ghana
April 10, 2014 11:57 AM
I am a bit relieved!!! I must congratulate the numerous search crew for their unrelentless efforts in finding the remains of our loved ones. The money minded Kwasi Oteng should be ignored. He is an (ndc) man

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid