Fading signals add urgency to search for missing Malaysian jet
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 01:52
April 12 - The search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner resumed, five weeks after the plane disappeared, amid fears that batteries powering signals from the black box recorder on board are about to die. Sarah Toms reports.
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A Chinese Ilyushin aircraft returns to Perth International airport after another day fruitlessly searching for missing Malaysia airliner, which lost radio contact five weeks ago.
A massive international operation is combing a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean, where officials believe Flight MH370 crashed.
As these planes scour a large search zone, thousands of kilometres west of Australia, for possible floating debris, ships focus on a smaller area where signals have been picked up.
But Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the transmissions are rapidly fading.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, TONY ABBOTT, SAYING:
"There have been numerous, numerous transmissions recorded, which gives us the high degree of confidence that this is the black box from the missing flight. What we're now doing, given that the signal from the box is rapidly fading, is trying to get as many detections as we can so that we can narrow the search area down to a small an area as possible. Once that has been done, and I don't want to speculate on when that might be."
Ships continue to listen for acoustic signals, although authorities have admitted that there have been no confirmed detections over the past 24 hours.
Vessels will use this towed pinger locator to track transmissions until officials are sure the black-box batteries - which last about a month - have run out.
Once they die, a submersible drone will be sent down to the Ocean floor for wreckage -- a laborious and pain-staking task, which means it will be a long time before the mystery of Flight MH370 and the 239 people on board is solved.
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