MH 370: Underwater search for Black Boxes begins

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MH370
Kuala Lumpur, April 4: As the window for detecting the locator beacon's comes closer to an end, the underwater search for the black boxes of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 has been accelarated.

Believed to have been lost in the Indian Ocean, along with its 239 passengers and crew members, the wreckage is untraceable since March 8. While Malaysia bears responsibility of the investigation and the recovery of the flight, Australia has been designated an "accredited representative" of the search after the premier of both the countries Najib Razak and Tony Abott met on Thursday to discuss the issue.

Former defence force chief Angus Houston, head of the Australian co-ordination centre said that Ocean Shield, which is an Australian Customs vehicle has deployed an underwater detection vehicle to search for the plane's black boxes.

Saying that the underwater search area has been narrowed down to 240 sq kmm, Houston said,"The towed pinger has been deployed today from the Ocean Shield. The search is currently ongoing." He also added that time was running out.

He further added,"The area of highest probability as to where the aircraft might have entered the water is the area where the underwater search will commence. On best advice the locator beacon will last about a month before it ceases its transmissions. We're now getting pretty close to the time when it might expire."

Rejecting the rumour that visual search will be dismissed now that the underwater search operation is on, Houston said that there was still a great possibility of finding floating objects.

The overall search mission will scour an area of 217,000 sq kms - 1,700km northwest of Perth. With fair weather conditions, 10 military aircrafts, 4 civil jets and 9 ships have been deployed for the search.

"Let me now say that this is a vast area, an area that's quite remote, and we'll continue the surface search for a good deal more time. If we find a piece of wreckage on the surface ... that gives us a much better datum to start the underwater search than we've currently got," said Houston.

He also said that the Western Australian government was assisting the families of the passengers of MH370 and is hosting them by providing all necessary assistance.

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