'Bluefin-21' Next Step in Search for Malaysia Flight MH370

Col. Stephen Ganyard discusses the unmanned vehicle that will use sonar to map the ocean floor.
8:41 | 04/09/14

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Transcript for 'Bluefin-21' Next Step in Search for Malaysia Flight MH370
This is a special room. Now. I'm optimistic that we will we will find. The aircraft. -- what is left of the aircraft. A new hope in the search for missing Malaysia airlines flight 370. The head of the search effort Angus Houston there are saying he thinks the likelihood of finding the plane as high. After search teams heard two more pinks. Hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York the clock is ticking to find the black boxes as the batteries lose power. Authorities saying they would still like to see some wreckage before they say for sure that the pings are coming from flight and H 37 V that crashed. But 239 people on board 33 days ago. For more on the deep sea search I want to bring an aviation expert and ABC news consultant colonel Steven -- and you're in Washington thanks for join -- -- Two more painless were picked up. But they sounded weaker according to the cruise. But the crew was able to pick up the signals for a few minutes each time what are the possibilities for the -- and weaker signal distance or the batteries fading. Well -- a little bit of both Michelle and one of the things they wanna do here is is continue to listen for the -- as long as they can as we've talked about the -- battery begins to die down it's sort of like. A flashlight in that it doesn't just shut itself off it'll begin to get dimmer and dimmer. And that's probably what we're seeing here is a reading reaching the outer limits of the of the -- life. So what they wanted to do was continue to listen first many -- as they can get. It's very encouraging to get these two new -- because what that allows and do it allows them to cross reference and to be able the triangular late. A better position of where the wreckage might be which is going to be absolutely crucial -- cutting down the recovery time they seem to be pay. -- down a smaller and smaller search grid as this goes on the batteries for the black boxes are supposed to last thirty days it's now day 33. What is the likelihood that does batteries can last much longer. If it's not likely the manufacturer said that that the anomaly when they sell the batteries they say they're gonna work for thirty days but they're usually about 35 maybe forty days in total so. We really have very little time left -- right at the ragged edge. We've gotten far more have better better set of things than probably anybody anticipated. So that's wonderful news but we want to continue to do we can for the next couple days. To narrow that search area because once they put the -- the vehicle in the water remember we have two different things here we have a we have a -- which is essentially microphones underneath the water. That is listening for that -- box. But once they have an area determined then they're gonna put in what's called this blue -- 21 this autonomous underwater vehicle. The blue -- 21 will be going down and using its side looking sonar using sound to create a date maps sort of a black and white map of the -- -- Looking for that wreckage. When that blue fin 41 goes then that is gonna take a long time to do that search if it's just a 10 X 10 mile box that could take up to three weeks. To search. And this -- sand or is there any sort of technology with cameras is that even possible the -- but they're dealing last. It is it's right at the very edge of the blue -- twenty one's capability. Again it's autonomous it's like. You know -- we've seen in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we've seen unmanned aerial vehicles. This is an unmanned underwater vehicle so it's running on software its preprogrammed. And it's down they're using its sonar to look once it finds some wreckage on the floor they'll bring it back up and they'll put lights just L -- LED lights on it. And and a visual camera and send it down to begin to search visually for that wreckage on the floor. Is there any other technology available to them if the black boxes. Their batteries start to -- about what's the likelihood that they can still locate this plane without any debris. Without the black boxes. Well -- -- I think I think at this point we have a very very good chance of eventually finding that wreckage it may take days. Weeks months even years as we saw on the Air France mishap. But I think -- eventually find it what they wanted to do was cut down that time so they can find it as soon as possible. The -- we have here is a is a is a situation where we're trying to race against the clock. To get the best position that we can so we we do put this autonomous underwater vehicle in the water. The search zone is very small and so we can spend less time searching. In wartime recovery and of course there have been other high profile searches including Air France flight 447 those black boxes for the plane were recovered until two years later. After the jet crashed of course the conditions in the Indian Ocean. -- much more challenging give us an idea of the depth that they're dealing with in this area. That -- the debt this fairly comparable. Which means it's it's very very difficult so one of the things we've seen the weather's been pretty good. And remember that the search jury's been moved north and -- -- been moved out they're down when we're called the roaring forties all that. That whether that would be up against the coast and -- it but they're farther north and those -- the weather is a little bit more benign probably more like it was in the Atlantic Ocean for the Air France recovery. But what we have here is is -- that make it very challenging because. Another thing to consider here is the bluefin can help find the wreckage but to actually recover the wreckage it takes a whole new capability. And that's called -- remotely operated vehicle they have one on the ocean shield so it'll be another another capability. But this is a three step process with three different kinds of technology. And it's gonna take -- finding the wreckage but then a whole separate other kind of operation to actually pick up wreckage and pick up those black boxes from the bottom of the ocean. And if the wreckage is in that area that they're searching is it likely that it will it's staying put like it will not move now like the debris field if there was one. Right mode most of the Kurds in this area are fairly benign so it's not like it's gonna get moved around much especially these depths of the currents or not I'm not very -- -- very strong. One of the considerations they did have is that they think this is a -- fairly silky bottom. So it will with -- it may have covered up some of the wreckage but most the wreckage should be apparent it should be out there we can see it it just may be a problem getting in and and finding where the black boxes are and whatever crumpled the left of that record. You know as an aviation expert what do you think the lessons will be out of this of course all the technology that's available has been pushed to its limits could this end up being. Fortunate thing in terms of technology. New technology. Being innovated. Well within the whole point of aviation safety and the whole point of aviation safety mishap investigations is to find out what went wrong whether it's man whether it's machine. Whatever -- you find out what's wrong so you can fix it so it never happens again. They've already been some very good suggestions about how to provide continuous. Monitoring of airplanes to do it any cheaper way that they -- in the past the complaint is that it takes too much. Money to send continuous satellite data. For you know 65000 flights a day for some merit airlines so I think the recent innovation I think -- -- some changes. But it's it's gonna really take getting goes black boxes finding out what -- wrong and then taking. The exact kind of -- Changes that we need based on what happened in the mishap. Are you also impressed with how the crews are coordinating and working together at this point that wasn't always the case in the search -- on -- Yes finally. Finally is about the nicest thing I can say we do have an international team in -- -- war. It's it was about three weeks late that's the unfortunate part I think there was a lot of wasted time and here. If -- if things had gone more smoothly and more professionally and there'd been less government interference. And incompetence I think that this we would have been out on this site may be a week or ten days earlier which would give us more time. To find the -- but for now things are much better the Australian team that is assembled in Perth is first rate the team that is out on the ocean shield. The US navy in the Australian navy there is no no better team in the world the best of the best are out there and so that gives me good health. And of course the world waiting along with the families of passengers on board aviation expert ABC news consultant colonel Stephen -- thank you joining us from Washington. And of course keep up with this story in real time download that ABC news happened -- this story for those exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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