NEW YORK (CNN) – Officials have narrowed the search area of for Malaysian Flight 370 after crews detect pings that could be from the missing plane’s black boxes.
However, even if the wreckage is found, getting to it at the bottom of the ocean may be an even greater challenge. After 67 hours of silence, two new pings. However, crews are still hoping to find more.
“Ocean shield has been able to reacquire the signals on two more occasion,” says Angus Houston, Joint Agency Coordination Centre Chief.
The elusive pings they’ve been desperately trying to recapture, detected again Tuesday. Once for about five minutes and then again for about 7 .
Ocean shield has now picked up a total of 4 pings in 5 days. All near the arc where the plane made its last satellite connection.
“I’m now optimistic we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft in the not too distant future,” said Australian Defense Force.
The new detections boosting optimism but crews are still listening for even more to narrow the search area and they’re on borrowed time.
“The guaranteed shelf life of the pinger batteries is 30 day and it is now 33 days since the aircraft went missing,” says Houston.
Investigators say they will only launch they underwater vehicle, the blue fin, after they are certain the batteries are dead. Equipped with side scan sonar the blue fin can launch search missions that last nearly a day but its slow. It would take six times longer to cover the same area as the tow pinger locator.
Once found it could take months to recover the boxes. The water in this area can be miles deep. Recreational scuba divers only go down about 130 feet. The Empire State Building submerged would only go down one thousand feet, light from the surface stops at three thousand feet. The grand canyon over 5 thousand feet deep, but that still wouldn’t even come close to reaching the ocean floor.
The titanic was discovered more than 12 thousand feet down but the black boxes are believed to be even further than that. More than 14 thousand feet underwater.
The manufacturer of the pingers says based on testing it should last 35 days. Keep in mind we are on day 34 and we know these most recent pings appeared to be weakening.