PERTH, Australia - An Australian warship carrying a unmanned underwater drone, a U.S. black box detector and acoustic detection equipment was readying to set sail as part of the search for missing Flight MH370 on Sunday.
Scheduled to depart on Monday, the Ocean Shield would take about four days to reach the search area off of Australia's western coast.
The black box detector, known as a ping locator, has been provided by American officials and will be deployed to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet once the vast area has been narrowed after finding wreckage.
"(Black box pingers) are rated to last 30 days, but that is a minimum. In my experience they do last a little bit longer than that," said the U.S. Navy supervisor of salvage and diving, Capt. Mark Matthews, according to local newspaper Perth Now. "I would say 45 days is the realistic limited expectation."
Ten ships and as many aircraft are searching a massive area in the Indian Ocean west of Perth, trying again to find some trace of the aircraft, which went missing more than three weeks ago and is presumed to have crashed in one of the most remote areas.
Matthews cautioned that the search could take years.
"Right now the search area is basically the size of the Indian Ocean, which would take an untenable amount of time to search," he told reporters.
- Ian Williams and F. Brinley Bruton, with The Associated Press.
First published March 30 2014, 3:37 AM