Canberra/Kuala Lumpur, April 13:
A dozen aircraft and 14 ships Sunday continued the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane but the efforts remained fruitless on the 37th day after MH370 went off the radar on a Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight.
“There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours,” Xinhua reported citing the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).
Eleven military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 14 ships joined in Sunday’s search, JACC confirmed.
Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein Sunday said Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail was in Britain discussing with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on who should have the custody of the blackbox when it is found.
“We are getting closer to that issue. The attorney general is in Britain discussing it. The ICAO and experts involved are relying on international law and domestic law on who should actually have custody of the black box once we do find it,” Hishammuddin said.
The Boeing 777-200ER is registered in Malaysia and owned by Malaysia Airlines and, according to the ICAO, the country of origin of the aircraft is obliged to launch an investigation and secure the wreckage, The Star reported Sunday.
However, Malaysia has asked Australia to lead as the search zone is concentrated around the Southern Indian Ocean.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority narrowed down the overall search area Saturday to 41,393 square km located about 2,331 km northwest of Perth from Friday’s search area of 46,713.
The signals are fast fading and the search crews are frantically trying to detect more pings from the blackbox in the narrowed search area in the coming days.
“Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield continues more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to the aircraft’s black boxes,” JACC stated.
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-3C Orion aircraft detected a suspicious signal Thursday in the vicinity of the ADV Ocean Shield.
Besides the search operation on the ocean surface, the underwater search also continued with the Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area and Chinese ships Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.
Two separate signals were detected Sunday by a US pinger locator being towed by the ADV Ocean Shield in the Indian Ocean search area, about 1,700 km northwest of Perth.
The first detection of the signal lasted for two hours and 20 minutes. After a few hours, the second signal was detected which lasted for 13 minutes.
The two signals were about 1,800 metres apart.
The ADV Ocean Shield detection Sunday came shortly after a Chinese patrol vessel, the Haixun One Zero, reported detecting two pulse signals Friday night, and then again Saturday at a frequency consistent with black box technology.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.
The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.