Nightly News   |  March 16, 2014

Will Authorities Ever Find Missing Malaysia Flight 370?

Authorities  have drastically increased the scope of their search for the missing plane. One expert says we may never find out what really happened.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> countries now searching for it, and hundreds of theories. so far, adding up to zero. the hunt for malaysia airlines flight 370. though we know a lot more about this flight than we did go into the weekend. the lengths that someone inside that cockpit went to render that plane stealth, and about the pilots themselves, whose lives are being examined in close detail by investigators who are now working what is officially a mystery. nbc's tom costello starts us off tonight.

>> investigators have now re-enacted in a simulator what little they know of flight 370s path and have asked our countries to recover sensitive radar data, looking at the plane's path. they're looking at special attention to the cockpit crew when it's clear that someone said good night to controllers, then took the plane off course. the search in the waters off malaysia and thailand may only be a formality at this point, with satellite data suggesting that flight 370 flew up to seven hours after its last known point of contact in the strait of malacca. the potential direction of travel. if it went south it likely headed deep into the vastness of the indian ocean , not covered by radar. if it went north, it could be anywhere from burma, bangladesh, kazakhstan to ubekistan.

>> requesting 11 countries as well as deep and remote ocean.

>> police have visited the homes of zaharie shah and fariq hamid. the sophisticated flight simulator from captain shah's home, searching for any evidence he might have practiced for a flight diversion.

>> we had to disassemble it from the home and assemble it in our office.

>> one friend of captain shah's is quoted as saying he is not a terrorist. the navy is pulling back, suspending its search, though the u.s. destroy continues searching a massive body of water along with aircraft in the bay.

>> super impose a picture of the united states in this area between india and malaysia, it would be almost looking like for one person somewhere between new york and california.

>> reporter: but ten days since flight 370 disappeared veteran investigators now say it's possible the plane and its passengers may never be found.

>> it may be that somewhere down the road , a month from now, three months from now, a year from now, there may be debris that washes up on the beach some place that will be identifying the airplane. but we will never be able to track it back to find the actual debris site if it's in deep ocean .

>> making it even more challenging, the indian ocean is the third's deepest and ocean currents can shift every day. also the underwater pingers on the black boks only have 30 days of battery life meaning a third of the battery life has been used up.

>> greg fife, you saw him a moment ago, from the national transportation and safety board. don't show any hints of the aircraft, do you become more pessimistic about the fate of this flight ?

>> i become more pessimistic about the northern trek. it looks like they'll push south now and start to expand that southerly track and their search there. they've included the land that border that southerly trek of the indian ocean . it will be a daunting task to cover that much territory.

>> i look at that graphic. that's a big, big ocean there. is there any way to narrow it down? if you say to yourself, it went to the south, can they narrow that band leading south?

>> the biggest thing, lester, is the mathematicians that are working with whatever radar and satellite data is left to try to dissect, hone down those last pings to see if they can't get those ping sites more focused. that's about the only thing. other than that, it's just going to be what they've been doing. splitting that area up in grids and trying to accomplish the mission of searching it with both land and sea asset.