The team searching the Indian Ocean for flight MH370 have detected no new electronic signals since last week, as the time needed to locate the aircraft appears to be running out.
Speaking on a visit to China on Saturday, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbot called the Indian Ocean search a “massive, massive task” and warned that the team is facing a race against time to pinpoint the source of previous electronic pulses.
“Given that the signal from the black box is rapidly fading, what we are now doing is trying to get as many detections as we can so that we can narrow the search area down to as small an area as possible,” Abbott told reporters at a press conference in Beijing.
He also confirmed however, that the search area has now been narrowed to 2,000km².
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) which is leading the search effort said that Australia’s Ocean Shield vessel continues to sweep the seas with its ‘Towed Pinger Locator’, to try and detect further signals from the aircraft’s black boxes. The ship is being backed up by AP-3C Orion aircraft and British ship HMS Echo. A submersible vehicle is ready to conduct an underwater search if and when the aircraft can be located.
But the JACC also confirmed on Sunday morning that “there have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours”, and signals detected by the Orion aircraft late last week turned out not to be from an aircraft black box.
The batteries that power flight recorders’ electronic signals fade after 30 days. Sunday 13 April was the 37th day since flight MH370 – and its 239 passengers and crew – went missing.