SYDNEY: Aircraft and ships hunting for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 faced old problems in a new area of the southern Indian Ocean from poor weather to floating garbage. What they didn’t get was a breakthrough in a mystery entering its fourth week.
Authorities are under pressure to make a breakthrough after several false leads, and amid rising anger among families of passengers on board Flight 370.
Multiple sightings of objects floating in the ocean by Chinese, Australian and New Zealand aircraft raised hopes that authorities had made the right call on Friday to shift the search around 700 miles northeast of a previous zone because of new calculations of radar data. But items fished out of the water turned out to be unrelated to the Boeing 777-200 plane, which disappeared on March 8.
Dozens of Chinese family members, fed up with the amount of information they are getting from officials in Beijing about the fate of the missing plane, flew to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday in the hope of getting satisfactory answers from Malaysian authorities.
BLACK BOX SEARCH
The search has become a race to detect signals from Flight 370’s black-box flight recorders before the batteries in their underwater locator beacon run out.
A WSJ report says that an Australian vessel carrying specialist equipment provided by the U.S. Navy that can find black boxes deep below the surface of the ocean is set to leave Perth on Monday. Water depths in the search zone range from 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) to 4,000 meters.
The ADV Ocean Shield, owned by the Australian Navy, has been fitted with a black-box locator, a device that is able to detect pings from the flight recorder. The vessel has also been loaded with a remote-controlled vehicle called Bluefin-21 that can scour the ocean depths for the missing plane.
Bill Fry, a safety adviser and Boeing 737 captain at Express Freighters Australia, said that if search teams can find the black boxes, then it is very likely that they will find most of the missing plane nearby.
Malaysian investigators believe Flight 370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean when it ran out of fuel on March 8, thousands of kilometers from the nearest airport. All of the 239 passengers and crew are assumed dead.