The mystery surrounding the Malaysian airliner that seemingly disappeared into thin air seemed to have been solved when searchers announced that they had detected pings from the airplane’s black box in the Indian Ocean. But now, after a large-scale search of the area, searchers are saying that the pings weren’t from the aircraft after all. The mystery of the disappearing airliner remains.
Expectations that the remains of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 would be found soon have been dashed. The Australian leaders of the operation have announced the end of the search of an area extending over 329 square miles of the Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles northwest of Perth, Australia. “The area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370,” the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre said Thursday.
Early in April this area was said to be the most-promising target for the search. The Australian vessel Ocean Shield, tracking along a 205-mile arc, reported detecting four separate sets of ping signals believed to be coming from the missing Boeing 777’s flight recorders. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometers.”
The Australians did not confirm Thursday, in so many words, what CNN first reported, that a U.S. Navy official has said that the pings were not, in fact, from Flight 370’s recorders—although that is implicit in Australia’s statement announcing the end of the search in that area. CNN quoted Michael Dean, the Navy’s deputy director of ocean engineering, saying of the pings that “our best theory at this point is that they were likely some sound produced by the ship…or within the electronics of the Towed Pinger Locator.”