Nearly a month after Malaysia Airlines flight 370 went missing, search teams working to locate the plane have made little progress. Two search teams have detected three separate pulse signals that could help them find the plane’s black box. The first two pings were detected by a Chinese ship on Friday and Saturday off the west coast of Australia. However, the Chinese ship was unable to confirm the pings are linked to the missing plane. Today, a third ping was detected by an Australian ship using equipment from the U.S. Navy. Every plane’s black box has a battery life of 30 to 45 days, depending on environmental conditions. With the battery life rapidly decreasing, the urgency to locate it is increasing. On its way to help is British navy ship HMS Echo which is equipped with sound-locating equipment. Though the frequency of the ping matches that of a black box, the signal is continuing to be considered unverified. Coordinating the search is retired Australian Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston who says, “We are working in a very big ocean and within a very large search area, and so far since the aircraft went missing we have had very few leads which allow us to narrow the search area.” With little to go on, it’s impossible to say whether or not these pings are from MH370’s black box, but the investigation will continue.
After the plane disappeared from the radar, it became impossible to determine how far off course it flew. Because of this, the search area is significantly larger than it would be if the planes course was documented until the end. The search team includes 12 military aircrafts and 13 ships combing through 3 vast areas about 1,240 miles northwest of Perth, Australia. I understand that the search area is large which makes it difficult to find things, but I’m surprised it’s been almost a month with no significant discoveries. Clearly this is a recovery not a rescue mission which is very sad. I feel bad for the families who have been waiting a month to find closure they may never get. Obviously the search teams need to investigate the pings, but if nothing significant is discovered they should move on. From a global standpoint, it’s nice to see different countries working together to find the plane. I hope that if necessary, more countries will donate their time and equipment to aid the search.