Missing Plane’s Black Box Batteries May Have Died

“Search teams fear the signals may have died.”

TIME

Underwater signals detected in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet have gone quiet, leading experts to believe the batteries in the aircraft’s black box transmitter system may have died.

Without pings sent from the plane’s black box, the desperate international air and sea search for MH370 may be extended by weeks or months, reports the Associated Press.

Ocean Shield, an Australian ship sailing with ping locator in tow, detected earlier this week a total of four signals determined to be consistent with the missing Boeing 777’s black box. The search teams’ discovery of the pings narrowed the search down to a 500-square-mile patch of deep seabed—about the size of Los Angeles—but the area will remain difficult to comb without further signals.

A Bluefin 21 submersible will be deployed to scour the sea floor only when officials are certain no more electronic signals will come. The submersible, which…

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