Investigators fear a near-miss of Malaysian jet's black box as search falters

The multi-national search for the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 continued for the 20th day today even as bad weather hampered aerial search operations in southern Indian Ocean where French satellites have reportedly beamed images showing 122 floating objects, which could possibly belong to the missing Boeing 777-200 jetliner.

Although satellite images by Airbus Defence and Space in France showed several objects measuring from one metre to 23 metres long, possibly belonging to the lost aircraft, aviation experts have warned that the black box might be 'impossible' to find.

Investigators are now fearing that the black box from the plane might have overwritten key data, making it all the more difficult to find out what exactly went wrong with the plane.

A black box detector that the United States is expected to fly in is expected to arrive on 5 April, just two days ahead of the black box's pinger running out of battery, news.com.au reported.

The website quoted Malaysia's defence and acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that an analysis of the images by Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency revealed the objects are spread over an area of about 400 square kilometres in southern Indian Ocean, about 2,557km from Perth, Australia.

It would be 28 days since the plane disappeared, but there is still a possibility that the weakened signal may continue for another 10 days.

But the remoteness of the site and the depth of the water and bad weather could combine to make search for the black box almost impossible.

Also, there is a possibility that even the black box may not provide the answers that investigators are hoping for, as the plane's communication systems had been disabled in the first hour of the flight. The black box records cockpit communication on a two-hour loop and then deletes all but the last two hours.

The ill-fated Malaysia Airline Flight MH370 with 239 people on board disappeared shortly after take-off from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March, and it took over 18 days to confirm that the plane indeed crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

So far, not a single item of debris linked to the missing plane has been recovered.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), co-ordinating the search, said that aircraft had spotted three objects on Wednesday but despite several passes had not been able to relocate them.