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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More