SYDNEY - Australian officials supervising the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 told Reuters on Saturday that an underwater search for the black box recorder based on "pings" possibly from the device could be completed in five to seven days.
A U.S. Navy deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, is scouring a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for signs of the flight, which disappeared from radar March 8 with 239 people on board and is believed to have crashed in the area.
The underwater search has been narrowed to a circular area with a radius of about six miles around the location in which one of four pings believed to have come from the black box recorders was detected April 8, officials said.
The massive international search and rescue effort for any physical evidence of the plane's wreckage, now in its seventh week, has so far proved fruitless.
"Provided the weather is favorable for launch and recovery of the AUV and we have a good run with the serviceability of the AUV, we should complete the search of the focused underwater area in five to seven days," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre told Reuters in an email.
First published April 18 2014, 10:56 PM