Beijing/Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said that the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has been narrowed down, even as time is running out before the plane’s blackbox stops pinging.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished about an hour after taking off for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight on March 8. File Pic
“We have narrowed down the search area. But trying to locate anything 4.5 km beneath the surface of the ocean, about 1,000 km from land is a massive task and it is likely to continue for a long time to come,” Abbot said at a press conference in Beijing.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) had narrowed down the overall search area to 41,393 square km from Friday's search area of 46,713.
The signals are fast fading and the search crews are rapidly trying to detect more pings from the blackbox in the narrowed search area in the coming days.
Saturday morning, the search crews scoured a remote area of the Indian Ocean about 41,393 square km in size, the centre of the range located about 2,331 km northwest of Perth, both by air and sea.
Nine military aircraft, a civilian jet and 14 ships were deployed in yesterday’s search.
“Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield continues more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to the aircraft’s black boxes,” Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) of Australia stated.
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-3C Orion aircraft detected a suspicious signal on Thursday in the vicinity of the ADV Ocean Shield. Up to 14 planes and 13 ships joined in Thursday’s search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, missing since March 8.
“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analysed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the ADV Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft’s black box,” JACC chief Angus Houstonn said. According to JACC figures, the ADV Ocean Shield is narrowing down the search area from 75,000 square km to 57,923 km, which lies approximately 2,280 km northwest of Perth.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished about an hour after taking off for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight on March 8. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.