The black boxes from the missing Air France jet are crucial to determining what brought the plane down, but locating the devices could present the most daunting challenge since the Titanic mission, Reuters reports. “You are looking for a needle in a haystack,” said one industry specialist, guessing recovery could take months, especially if the boxes are beyond divers’ reach.
One oceanographer says the boxes, which record cockpit conversations and instrument data, could be more than 13,000 feet below surface—far exceeding the 2,000-ft. maximum appropriate for submarine rescues. “You will be pushing the limits of the technology,” he said. Despite the challenges, though, giving up isn’t an option, an expert insists: “Not knowing would be totally unacceptable.”