#MH370: Search update for Saturday, April 12

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Good morning:

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Acoustic data analysis continues.

No pings from the black boxes have been detected since the towed pinger locator detected signals on Tuesday. The previously reported signals picked up by the sonar buoys have been analyzed and excluded as electronic signals from the black boxes.

The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon has been determined as not related to an aircraft underwater locator beacon.

“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analysed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes,” Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said.

Here’s the media release for today.

Media Release
12 April 2014—am

Up to nine military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 41,393 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2331 kilometres north west of Perth.

Today, Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield continues more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to the aircraft’s black boxes. The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield. The oceanographic ship HMS Echo is also working in the area with Ocean Shield. This work continues in an effort to narrow the underwater search area for when the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is deployed. There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours.

The weather forecast for today is 10 knot south easterly winds with isolated showers, sea swells up to one metre and visibility of five kilometres in showers.

Aircraft and ships reported spotting a number of objects during yesterday’s search, but only a small number were able to be recovered. None of the recovered items were confirmed to be associated with MH370.

The underwater search area is approximately 14,800 feet below the surface of the ocean and about the same size as the city of Los Angeles. That’s why they are going to continue to listen for pings until they are satisfied that the batteries have expired. The more pings they detect, the easier it will be to shrink the search area and locate the black boxes.

The Bluefin 21’s sonar can scan only about 100 meters to each side and its lights can only illuminate a few meters. The maximum depth at which it can operate is 4,500 meters and some areas of the search zone are deeper. Because of these limitations, they will continue to listen for pings until they are satisfied that they know the location of the black boxes or the batteries have died. The boxes are not going anywhere, so they are not going to risk losing or damaging the Bluefin 21 during a premature dive.

The searchers are also concerned about the firmness of the ocean bottom, which they believe to be composed of a layer of silt, approximately 75 feet deep. They fear the wreckage, including the black boxes, may have disappeared into the silt muffling and misdirecting the pings while also making it difficult to see any wreckage.

You are up to date.

Photo by Aero Icarus released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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15 Responses to #MH370: Search update for Saturday, April 12

  1. towerflower says:

    Other experts have discounted the “getting swallowed up by the silt” theory. This has been disproven just by examinations of other wrecks in other oceans.

    • gblock says:

      It’s not really a theory, it’s just something that might or might not have happened. If it hasn’t happened in other cases, then it may be unlikely that it’s happened in this case. Of course, if it hasn’t been swallowed up by the silt, that would be a good thing.

  2. towerflower says:

    Monday morning press conference from Australia, first the main search ship has spotted an oil slick in the vicinity of the search. A sample has been taken to be analyzed–no speculation as to where it came from. Bluefin will start the sonar search now. They explained how long it will take Bluefin to reach the bottom and how long they can run the search before it needs to be brought up. They also explained the “mowing the lawn” that it will do.

    • Thanks for the update.

      Seems unlikely to have come from MH370, which was out of gas when it crashed over a month ago, but should be checked anyway just to be certain. Any residue from the plane likely would have been carried far away by the ocean currents unless it’s still leaking.

      Yeah, I agree that it’s time for Bluefin since it’s been almost a week since any pings have been detected.

      Hope they get lucky and find the wreckage soon. Hope it didn’t get swallowed up by the silt.

      • towerflower says:

        There are various systems on a plane that have oil, the hydraulic system is one of them. If it came from the plane they’ll know based on the type of oil it is.

  3. J4TMinATL says:

    Hi Prof and Crane

    Thank you for the updates. I’m curious to know what this search will end up costing. I believe the U.S. has allocated $7.5 mill towards the search.

    • I don’t know how much the search will end up costing, but I think it will be money well spent by every nation involved, regardless whether the aircraft is found, because longtime foes are finally working together toward a common humanitarian goal and getting to know and rely on each other as partners in hope.

      I think the value of that experience is incalculable and just might end up saving the human race from destroying itself.

      That, plus the mystery of the aircraft’s disappearance, is why I keep writing about it.

  4. Tee says:

    Hi professor, off topic but I was just reading an article on Lisa Bloom’s new book about Zimmerman’s trial. It’s awful what they did to Mattie, I for one will be picking up her book. After Mattie came forward some people said some very awful things about her, but I knew inside that this woman was victimized in that court house and Lisa’s book have her story. Can you believe they denied her extra time with her 3 month old baby on account that kids can talk, but allowed one of the white women 9 hours with her dog because she was lonely.

    • Malisha says:

      I’m not surprised. They were prepared to do just about anything to prevent the conviction of THEIR murderer. I actually believe the prosecution CHOSE her because they could tell from her background that she could be bullied. That way, if she decided (as any non-white would) that the view that “Fogen was only doing what any of us would do” was not equivalent to “reason-able doubt,” she could be bullied into submission, as she was.

      Still I can’t find it in me to feel bad for her. SHE should have said she could not serve on that jury because of her kids. That doesn’t mean they would not have chosen another racist or another patsy but SHE should not have been the one.

    • Can you believe they denied her extra time with her 3 month old baby on account that kids can talk, but allowed one of the white women 9 hours with her dog because she was lonely.

      Yes, that’s disgusting and shameful.

      I harbor no doubt that the outcome of that trial was predetermined.

      I believe it’s instructive to compare the way the prosecution handled the Zimmerman trial with the way the prosecution is handling the Pistorius trial.

    • Trained Observer says:

      Just down from Chicago, Mattie had a slew of kids and no established friend/family support network in Seminole County.

      Yet with visions of a break from a drudge job, free meals, a nice hotel stay and lots of media attention dancing in her head, Mattie insisted serving as a juror would be no prob. … Duh.

      Prosecution should have struck her from the get-go as too stupid for words … just as they should have sized a couple of the others up as closet racists and bullies.

      Fogen’s jury consultant must have laughed his ass off when Corey’s team let dopey Mattie get seated.

  5. bettykath says:

    thanks for the update

  6. Date updated on this. It originally read “Saturday April 11” in the title.

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