Share

Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Update: Search Could End Within a Week

April 20, 2014

A robotic submarine looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane continued to dive Sunday after completing about half of its search on the bottom of the Indian Ocean with no luck, prompting an official to express the urgent need to find something that can help solve the mysterious disappearance six weeks ago.

The Bluefin 21 unmanned sub began its eighth trip into the depths off the coast of western Australia. Its search area forms a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) circle around the location of an underwater signal that was believed to have come from the aircraft's black boxes before their batteries died. The sonar scan of the seafloor in that area is expected to be completed in five to seven days, the search center said.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein stressed the importance of the weekend missions to reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

(PHOTOS: Scenes from the Search)

"The narrowing of the search for today and tomorrow is at a very critical juncture, so I appeal to everybody around the world to pray and pray hard that we find something to work on over the next couple of days," he said.

But he added that there were no plans to give up once the Bluefin concludes its work. Instead, he said the scope of the search may be broadened or other assets may be used.

"The search will always continue," he said. "It is just a matter of approach. All efforts will be intensified for the next few days with regards to the underwater search."

Meanwhile on Sunday, up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continued to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Radar and satellite data show it mysteriously veered far off course for unknown reasons and would have run out of fuel in the remote section of the southern Indian Ocean where the search has been focused. Not one piece of debris has been recovered since the massive hunt began.

The tiresome search, which continues to raise more questions than answers, has tormented the families whose loved ones were aboard Flight 370. About two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese.

There have been numerous leads throughout the painstaking hunt, but all have turned out to be false. The latest hope involved an oil slick found near the underwater search area, but analysis of a sample taken from the site found it was not connected to the plane.

(MORE: Air Force Launches New Weather Satellite)

The most promising development came when four underwater signals were detected April 5 and 8. The sounds were consistent with pings that would have been emanating from the flight data and cockpit recorders' beacons before their batteries died.

The underwater operation is being complicated by the depth of the largely unexplored silt-covered sea floor. The U.S. Navy's submarine has gone beyond its recommended limit of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet), according to the U.S. 7th Fleet. That could risk the equipment, but it is being closely monitored.

The search coordination center has said the hunt for floating debris on the surface will continue at least into next week, even though the head of the search effort, Angus Houston, had earlier said it was expected to end sooner.

On Sunday, the visual surface search was to cover an estimated 48,507 square kilometers (18,729 square miles) of sea.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

In this photo taken from the Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2-Orion aircraft, a spotter looks out of a window in search of debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of western Australia on Sunday, April 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Greg Wood, Pool)


Featured Blogs

Crunch Time Ahead for California Drought Relief

By Dr. Jeff Masters
February 27, 2015

Californians are watching anxiously to see if a “Miracle March” or “Awesome April” salvages the worst snowpack season on record thus far in parts of the Sierra Nevada. In many ways this winter resembles 2013-14, when the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” just offshore steered wet systems well north of California.

Devastating Drought Conditions and Annoying People

By Shaun Tanner
February 4, 2015

The drought in California has been pretty devastating and at least some of the people of California seem to be happy about it.

The RRR ‘Ridiculously Resilient Ridge’ Returns to California

By Christopher C. Burt
January 9, 2015

After a very wet first half of December hopes were high that the beginning to the end of California’s years-long drought might finally be at hand. However, virtually no rainfall has fallen across the state since December 18th and none is forecast until at least January 18th. Yet again, a month-long mid-winter dry spell has befallen the state.

Meteorological images of the year - 2014

By Stu Ostro
December 30, 2014

My 9th annual edition.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.