Wire: US Navy "Towed Pinger Locator" to Search for Flight 447 Black Boxes
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, June 14, 2009 -- Newswire services this afternoon reported that a Dutch ship towing a high-tech, U.S. Navy listening device was set to troll the Atlantic on Sunday in search of data and voice recorders that investigators say are key to determining what caused an Air France jet to crash in the Atlantic with 228 people on board.
The Navy device, called a "Towed Pinger Locator," or TPL, will try to detect emergency audio beacons, or pings, emitted by Flight 447's black boxes, which could be lying thousands of feet below the ocean surface, according to an Associated Press report.
AP noted that without the recorders, it may be impossible to ever know what caused the Airbus A330 to crash several hundred miles off Brazil's northeastern coast on May 31, experts have said.
AP reported the following details:
The TPL has search capacities up to a depth of 20,000 feet (6,100 meters). The first of two devices was towed in Sunday by a Dutch ship contracted by France, said U.S. Air Force Col. Willie Berges, chief of the U.S. military liaison office in Brazil and commander of the American military forces supporting the search operation.Brazilian authorities Sunday revised the number of bodies they have retrieved downward, from 44 to 43, after a re-count. Another six have been pulled from the Atlantic by French ships, AP said.
Berges said the TPL would start operating as soon as searchers were sure it would not interfere with a black-box search being conducted in the same area by a French nuclear submarine.
Another Dutch ship carrying a second listening device is scheduled to arrive no later than Monday morning, Berges said.
The ships will tow the TPLs in a grid pattern while 10-person teams watch for signals on computer screens, Berges said.
The search area includes some of the deepest waters of the Atlantic — and in two more weeks the boxes' signals will begin to fade.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Source: US signal locator to search for Flight 447 boxes
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