Transcript for Fifth Ping Detected in the Search for Flight 370
This is a special room. Those clicks the actual audio recordings of those signals heard deepening the ocean that officials say could be. The black boxes from Malaysia airlines flight 370 I'm Michelle Franzen in New York just hopes are fading and time is running out on the black -- batteries. Searchers picked up up this underwater signal. They say is man made and is most likely one or both of the black boxes from and H 370. Fourteen planes and thirteen ships are now in the area where the -- are located officials saying although they haven't found the needles they have found the haystack. To help us understand more about the haystack in the latest search efforts I want to bring in former NTSB investigator Tom how -- from Washington. Tom now the new search area is it's much smaller than what it was before give us a sense of what we're dealing with -- on the scale. Well -- wonderful thing is we've gone to an area that was once the size the United States down to the size of taxes down to a size of Pennsylvania. And now we're looking at an area that's -- Two -- three counties big if you will so is getting smaller by the minute and we've been extraordinary lucky. That the batteries on the pager devices have continued to work past the -- appeared. Well let's talk about this latest -- it's the fifth -- now that the officials say that they've heard -- all five kings. Have come or are man made but they stop short of claiming that it could be from the black boxes could -- be anything other than the black boxes. What is the right frequency but you know given this investigation and they stops and starts we've had think everybody's -- little gun shy at this point. But certainly the frequencies correct now there are other things he can can pick up some. Unusual signals a -- well but it looks extraordinary promise scene and I think they're doing the right thing of continuing to. Opponent in the search continue to listen and try to make this area's smallest possible. And we certainly know the time is running out why not just send out the vessels now that can take a closer look. Beneath the ocean and head down to the ocean floor. -- think the idea now is as long as we keep hearing -- is to make this area's smallest possible. So when you send out the RO -- are doing size him. They can look at a smaller area so instead of looking over two or three counties to get -- down to maybe or half mile square would be fantastic. So easy and -- Vegas area's small is the best in the long run. We're also learning more about the ocean floor not so much a floor but more of a jagged mountainous cliff like area. Beneath the water -- does that change -- hamper the search for these black boxes. What makes it very difficult obviously the fact you're hearing them into such -- environment is great. But once you start doing this side scan sonar work. Now your vehicle can go as deep consumer avoid hitting the tops of these mountain ranges under there. You may have trouble that the wreckage using premises other points. So the actual recovery could become very difficult. But the good thing is it looks like -- now start don't hold -- -- to find an area where we start to his side scan sonar. Crews of course -- -- on borrowed time those batteries last thirty days were on day 34. Is there anything that search crews can be doing differently should be doing differently. Well I think they're doing the right things one they're still looking for objects floating on the surface now -- have an idea of where to start from. But I think the -- -- at this moment as long as are still pains available from those devices. Do once again -- -- in the area because. Anything you can do now makes future activities a lot easier. And we mentioned fourteen planes thirteen ships are now looking for the wreckage. How long do you think that we can keep this strong of an effort until it dwindles. And also are they just throwing all their technology at this that they have right now. I think they're -- that everything they can obviously for listening to the pains you only want one vessel in the area. Doing that you don't want multiple vessels please create more noise in the water that you don't need you don't want anything else around here that you don't have actually have to have. -- the aircraft search for floating debris is good. So you keep all that -- but obviously I think in terms the aircraft searching for floating debris. If they continued effort other week I'd be surprised but clearly there's been a strong commitment by the Australian government keep looking for parts its aircraft. And let's say those things. Go silent. Do they have an area where they can still conduct work if they don't hear any signals. Yes. They do -- now they have enough information based on the five paying hits that have been recorded. To get this area down to where they can start doing side scan sonar if they get no further pains. That it increases their complexity increases the cost increases the time the least now you have a place to start looking. Former NTSB investigator Tom powder in Washington thank you as always for joining us and providing your expertise. You can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- Star in this story for exclusive updates on the go for now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York this is an ABC news digital special report.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.