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March 31st, 2014
11:21 AM ET

Hopes Dashed As Orange Objects Turn Out to be Fishing Equipment

Potential leads on the missing Malaysian jetliner keep coming. So do the setbacks and frustrations.

Four orange objects spotted by aircraft searching for the plane in the treacherous Indian Ocean turned out to be fishing equipment, Australian officials said Monday.

Flight Lt. Russell Adams had described the objects found Sunday as the "most promising leads."

But on further analysis, they turned out to be fishing equipment, once again dashing hopes of finding the jetliner that vanished March 8.

"We are searching a vast area of ocean, and we are working on quite limited information," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters Monday. "Nevertheless, the best brains in the world are applying themselves to this task. ... If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it."

The area of the search is 254,000 square kilometers (98,069 miles) that 10 planes and 11 ships were searching Monday. It's the most vessels to comb the search area so far.

Search crews from various nations have found an array of potential leads, only to later shoot down any links to the missing plane. They've included dead jelly fish and other garbage floating in the southern Indian Ocean.

Race against time

With every passing minute, it becomes harder to find the flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. Batteries on the "pinger" - the beacon that sends a signal from recorders - are designed to last about 30 days.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared 23 days ago en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

An Australian ship fitted with a U.S. ping detector is set to join the search Monday in a desperate race against time.

The focus is on helping find the flight recorders. Find the pinger and you find the recorders. Find the recorders, experts say, and you are steps closer to solving the mystery of Flight 370. Flight data recorders capture a wide array of information, including altitudes, air speeds and engine temperatures.

Crews loaded an American pinger locator and undersea search equipment onto the Ocean Shield, an offshore support vessel of the Australian navy. The ship was originally set to depart Monday morning, but authorities said it would be delayed by several hours for an inspection.

It will take the ship up to three days to reach the search area.

But that's just one of the many hurdles.

Oceanographer Erik Van Sebille weighs in on the possibility of finding the data recorder for Flight 370.

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