Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370: What will Happen, now that Black Box has Fallen Silent?

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | April 8, 2014 6:59 PM EST

While a massive team involving 26 nations are desperately scouring through the areas where Chinese and Australian ships detected possible signals from a black-box, it is getting increasingly apparent that the search and rescue team has lost the possibility of intercepting the 'pings' anymore.

AMSA Press Release
Malaysian Plane MH370: After Chinese ship received pulse signal on Friday, now an Australia ship has detected 'pings' from possible Black Box. (Image: AMSA Press Release)

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The Australian ship, which picked up possible signals from the plane recorder, has not been able to detect any further signals and as feared, the search teams might have to assume that the remote locator of the plane might have fallen silent, after all.

Angus Houston, the head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, has said that the month-long hunt in the Indian Ocean was at a critical stage as the batteries in the black box had already reached its 30-day life expectancy.

A US Navy pinger locator onboard Australia's Ocean Shield had picked up two "ping" signals intercepted over the weekend. The first ping was said to be heard for more than two hours, while the second one lasted for about 13 minutes.

The development comes after a Chinese ship searching for the missing plane also picked up a pulse signal on Friday, which was described as something that has a frequency of 37.5 kHz per second - the same as those emitted by the flight recorders.

The Australian ship Ocean Shield, which detected the pings via its pinger locator was searching an area some 300 nautical miles away from where Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 had reportedly detected another round of signals with the same frequency on Friday.

The area, in which the signals have been received, has a depth of approximately 4,500 meters (15,000 feet). This is also the limit of capability of the autonomous underwater vehicle, the official said.

But now that the batteries in the black box have most probably died, the possibility of finding the actual wreak will be at its minimum. More importantly, the new search area where ships and planes are searching is based on analysis, and not really any credible proof. Hence, the chances of finding the actual wreckage are still doubtful.

"If we don't get any further transmissions, we have a reasonably large search area of the bottom of the ocean to prosecute and that will take a long, long time, It's very slow, painstaking work," Reuters quoted Houston as saying.

The Black boxes function as a device to record cockpit data and may provide answers about what happened to the plane carrying 239 people onboard, which mysteriously vanished out of civilian radar while travelling to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

But now that the black box has died, it might be impossible to find the details of the flight, making it the biggest mystery of the aviation industry. 

(Edited by Vanilla Sharma)

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(Photo: AMSA Press Release / )
Malaysian Plane MH370: After Chinese ship received pulse signal on Friday, now an Australia ship has detected 'pings' from possible Black Box. (Image: AMSA Press Release)
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