Origin of MH-370's pinger: Sarasota - FOX 13 News

Origin of MH-370's pinger: Sarasota

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SARASOTA (FOX 13) -

When it comes to MH-370, the sound of hope comes a second at a time.

"The area they are searching is the size of South Carolina," said Kris Herald, the operations director at Dukane Seacom.

Yet the search is narrowing, thanks to the pinger made by Herald's Sarasota company.  

Crews need a special listening device and to be within two nautical miles to hear the pinger that activates when it hits water.

Today, Australian crews said they were "optimistic" after hearing the sound.

"It's down in 13,000 feet, which are extreme pressures and it's down there working as its intended," said Herald.

But the race is on. Simple math says the once-a-second ping has gone off 2.8 million times over 33 days.

The batteries are dying.

"Just like a flashlight, over time, when the batteries are wearing out, the light gets dim," said Herald.

The resiliency of the product is what gives them hope that the plane is going to be found.

It's already lasted three days longer than is required by the FAA. I held in my hand the actual pinger that was aboard Swiss Air flight 111.

In 1998, that flight crashed off of Nova Scotia, killing 229 people.

The pinger survived for them to find the plane.

The unit aboard the Malaysian jet was made in 2006 and due for an overhaul in 2012.

Dukane Seacom's records show the device was not returned for a battery replacement, though that doesn't mean someone else didn't do it.

As the pulses fade and the search hits high gear, fingers are being crossed tightly in Sarasota – and all around the world.

"If the pinger is used to locate the wreckage and it is our product that is used to give closure to those families, it warms me."

Even before this crash, they were working on a pinger that can be heard for even longer and from further away than the one on MH-370.

They're hoping the FAA will soon approve their device that can be heard for three months instead of one, and from ten miles away instead of two.

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