Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: U.S. Navy captain says without debris, they're depending on "luck"

Australia says it will deploy a Boeing 737 to direct traffic in the crowded airspace over the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 search zone. The effort is focused on an area that's a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Australia.

The Malaysian Authorities have just released a full transcript of communications between Flight 370 and Air Traffic Control before it disappeared.

They say there's nothing abnormal, but they've abruptly changed their account of the plane's final sign-off from "All right goodnight" -- which is technically incorrect -- to "Good night Malaysian 370," which is the correct formal sign-off.

That's angered some of the family members of those who were on board, who feel they're not being given the whole truth. They are also frustrated because after more than three weeks, no wreckage from the plane has been found.

At Stirling Naval Base, a Malaysian frigate, the Lekiu, is the latest ship to join the international search for Flight 370.

Eleven hundred miles off Australia's West Coast, nine other ships have begun retrieving objects spotted from the air by search planes, but so far have found only garbage.

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Capt. Mark Matthews is the head of the U.S. Navy's Salvage Operations. His team is tasked with finding the Boeing 777's black boxes, using state-of-the-art equipment they've flown in to Australia.

Asked what the chances are of finding wreckage now, Matthews said, "What's really important right now, again, is finding the surface wreckage. Without finding that debris, we would be depending on luck more than skill or competency to find the wreckage of the aircraft."

Matthews said that while a Boeing 777 may look big when you're standing next to it, "when you're comparing it to the size of the ocean, it's relatively small."

Matthews said he's racing against the clock because the beacons on the plane's black boxes -- which emit an electronic signal -- may have just one week of battery life left, perhaps two.

If the flight recorders aren't found in the next two weeks, Matthews said it's "certainly a possibility" that the plane may never be found.

"The pingers allow us to detect it at greater ranges," Matthews said. "If those pingers are no longer emitting, it's going to be much more difficult to find and much more time-consuming to do those searches."

That possibility, Williams noted, is obviously upsetting for the family members of those on board. The Malaysian authorities will hold a closed-door meeting with them Wednesday to try to resolve some of their concerns.

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