A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Have the searchers located the black boxes?

Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Good morning:

I have two new facts to report about the search for MH370.

(1) Angus Houston, the chief coordinator for the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre has confirmed that another vessel detected pings underwater during the Sunday search. Astro Awani reports:

PERTH: Another pulse signal was detected in the southern Indian Ocean today by Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.

Earlier a Chinese ship, Haixun 01, detected two short pulse signals also known as acoustic signal 36 hours ago on Friday and in the afternoon on Saturday.

[The two locations where the Chinese ship detected the pings are 1.2 miles apart]

Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief coordinator, Angus Houston said up till now there was no verification whether to discount or to confirm the finding as the investigation was ongoing.

“HMS Echo is on its way to the Haixun 01 ship area while Ocean Shield is investigating the signal using underwater equipment,” he told a press conference here today.

He said the location between Haixun 01 and Ocean Shield is about 300 nautical miles.

Houston described the Ocean Shield as the best ship for the task as it was equipped with towed pinger and remotely operated underwater vehicle.

He, however, cautioned the verification of the signals could take several days and pointed out that search could be painstaking as the depth of the ocean in the area was about 4.5 km as well as other challenges.

Although the Chinese ship detected signals at 2 locations only 1.2 miles apart on Friday and Saturday, the Ocean Shield picked up a signal 300 nautical miles away on Sunday.

Apparently, no one picked up a signal on Sunday in the area where the Chinese ship picked up signals on Friday and Saturday.

Frustrating.

The Ocean Shield has the best equipment to detect the black boxes because it has the pinger locator that it can tow at depths of up to 20,000 feet and a remotely operated sub that it can use to use to look for wreckage on the bottom.

Problem is the Ocean Shield is limited to cruising at 1-6 knots while towing the pinger and it’s 300 nautical miles from the location where the Chinese vessel detected pings on Friday and Saturday.

With time running out on the black box batteries, does it remain where it is and continue to investigate the pings it detected yesterday or does it abandon that effort, pull up the pinger and head to the other area?

Angus Houston ordered the Ocean Shield to continue searching where it is and sent the Echo, which has lots of electronic detection devices on board, to search the area where the Chinese ship detected the pings.

That makes sense to me.

Do not overlook this additional new fact reported by Malaysian officials:

(2) Malaysian officials are claiming that the flight skirted the limits of radar detection before turning south into the Indian Ocean. Astro Awani reports:

KUALA LUMPUR: The missing MH370 is believed to have flown around the Indonesia airspace on its way to the southern Indian Ocean, a senior Malaysian government official told CNN, Sunday.

The plane is believed to have skirted the Indonesian airspace to avoid radar detection, CNN reported.

This conclusion was drawn after looking at radar data from neighbouring countries, the official was quoted.

You are up to date.