The hunt for the plane's wreckage and the black box that might give a hint about what happened has become a race against time because the battery life of the "pinger" in the black box may have less than two weeks left.
David Gallo, an undersea search expert who co-led the hunt for downed Air France Flight 447 off the coast of Brazil in 2011, called the MH370 case "extremely unusual because there has been no confirmed evidence of the plane at all."
Gallo directs special projects for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a nonprofit Massachusetts marine-science facility that is not involved in the search for the Malaysian airliner. The potential MH370 search area is "much larger" than it was in the Air France 447 operation, Gallo said.
The Air France 447 search area was "very remote, the sea very deep, and the seafloor very rugged and mountainous," Gallo said in an email to China Daily. "The search area was as deep as 4,000 meters and spread out over 5,000 square miles."
However, the researcher said: "We have excellent undersea search technology. I am confident if we find some debris on the sea surface, the remains of the (Malaysian) plane can be found."