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TODAY   |  March 21, 2014

Search for any Flight 370 debris continues

Near the bottom of the earth, search planes try to locate objects that could be debris from Malaysia Flight 370. But as night falls there, nothing is found for a second straight day. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>> waking up. it's nightfall off the coast of australia . and how frustrating, another day turning up nothing.

>> especially for 239 families waiting for something.

>> and it's once again our top story. this ongoing search for possible debris from flight 370. it has been 14 days since that plane disappeared. still, no solid answers, just questions. tom costello has this morning's newest developments. tom, good morning.

>> good morning, savannah. search teams have been looking in this area, and so far, nothing. even as they go deep into the indian ocean , they've spotted nothing. they're looking for the two objects spotted on satellite right here, about 1,500 miles or so off the coast of australia . the concern is that those issues, those items may have shifted dramatically with the ocean currents . and so now the australians say in this area right here, where they're focusing, they're going to be looking more at human spotting rather than using radar looking for any debris on the ocean surface.

>> reporter: the question this morning, are the remains of flight 370 somewhere out there in one of the most remote corners of the earth ? did the plane simply fly until it ran out of fuel and crash into the ocean ? one day after australia released these satellite photos of what could be floating debris, the search zone was targeted by australia , u.s., and new zealand, dropping buoy markers. the australian prime minister this morning.

>> that's the most inaccessible spot you can imagine on the face of the earth. but if there is anything down there, we will find it. we owe it to the families of those people to do no less.

>> reporter: while the two pieces are thought to be 39 and 16 feet long, the ocean is a very big place with rolling waves. on the water itself, the australian naval ship "success" should be on site by sunday. but a norwegian cargo ship traveling through the region has already diverted with crew members ordered to keep watch. the ship's captain talked by phone to a norwegian newspaper late thursday.

>> the visibility is poor at times in every mile or two. there are fog patches.

>> speed is of the essence since there's now only 16 days of battery life left in those underwater locaters attached to the black boxes . it'll be up to ships or submarines in the area to listen with underwater microphones.

>> they would set up a search grid and they would travel through that grid listening for the frequency to locate and localize the wreckage.

>> reporter: while the pingers may die, the black boxes should survive. designed to withstand both the crash impact and the pressure of 20,000 feet of water.

>> the data recorder will give us the objective parameters to look and see how the airplane was being flown, what data entry was made into the computers, when it was made. it won't tell us by who, but it will tell us when. and that may very well in all likelihood will explain this mystery.

>> the black box from flight 447 were found in a similar depth of water two years after it crashed into the atlantic ocean . it was up to submersible vehicles to find the critical evidence that helped solve that mystery.

>> there was also this from the news conference in malaysia today . the plane was carrying a load of lithium ion batteries . small batteries for laptops in the cargo hold . these have been known to catch fire. but the ceo of malaysian airlines say today they were in approved packaging. that announcement will likely fuel the theory that a fire could've occurred mid flight. guys, back to you.

>> tom costello with us on the story for the 14th day. thank you very much.