Flight 370’s Black-Box Batteries Have Probably Died

AT SEA  - APRIL 11: Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Co Pilot squadron Leader Brett McKenzie (L) and Flight Engineer Trent Wyatt sit in the cockpit aboard a P3 Orion maratime search aircraft as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean looking for debris from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on April 11, 2014 At Sea.  Search and rescue officials in Australia are confident they know the approximate position of the black box recorders from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday. At the same time, however, the head of the agency coordinating the search said that the latest "ping" signal, which was captured by a listening device buoy on Thursday, was not related to the plane. (Photo by Richard Polden - Pool/Getty Images)
Photo: Pool/2014 Getty Images

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has now been missing for 37 days, and it's been several days since searchers detected a ping consistent with the plane's black-box locators. As has been frequently noted, the batteries that power the recorders' beacons are only supposed to last 30 days. So, while it's always hard to say anything definitive about the missing jet, it seems likely that the black boxes' signals have died.

"What they're hoping for is to get one more, maybe two more pings so they can do a triangulation of the sounds and try and narrow the [search] area," aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas told the Associated Press. Once officials are certain that they have heard the last of the pings, an underwater vehicle will be sent down into the Indian Ocean to look for Flight 370's wreckage. With a search area of about 500 square miles, finding anything could take quite a while: According to the AP, it will take the Bluefin-21 submersible six to eight weeks cover that patch of seabed.