News / Asia

Indian Ocean Proves Too Deep for Robotic Sub in MH370 Search

FILE - The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the U.S. Navy, April 4, 2014.
FILE - The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the U.S. Navy, April 4, 2014.
VOA News
A U.S. Navy underwater drone sent to search for a missing Malaysian jetliner on the floor of the Indian Ocean had its first mission cut short after exceeding its 4.5 km (2.8 mile) depth limit, Australian search authorities said on Tuesday. It had been expected to spend up to 16 hours scouring the silty sea floor, after a two-hour descent.

"It's [the drone's] built-in safety feature returned it to the surface,'' the Australian agency coordinating the search and recovery operation said. "The six hours of data gathered by the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is currently being extracted and analyzed."

The launch of the Blue-fin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle on Monday marked a new phase in the six-week search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 which disappeared on March 8 and is presumed to have crashed thousands of kilometers off course with the loss of all 239 people on board.
 
Searchers are confident they know the approximate position of wreckage of the Boeing 777, some 1,550 km (963 miles) northwest of Perth, and are moving ahead on the basis of four acoustic signals they believe are from its black box recorders.

The robotic submarine was sent down nearly a week after sound-locating equipment last heard signals that are believed to be from the missing jet's black boxes.

Angus Houston, who heads Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center, said Monday, "We haven't had a single detection in six days, so I guess it's time to go underwater."

The plane's flight recorder boxes emit signals so they can be more easily found, but their batteries only last about a month. It has been nearly 40 days since the jet went missing.

Search crews also are investigating an oil slick found in the search area. Crews have collected samples that have been sent for testing.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to sound notes of caution, stressing that trying to find anything nearly five kilometers below the surface of the Indian Ocean, 1,000 kilometers from land, is a huge task that will not likely end anytime soon.

The small robotic sub, called Bluefin 21, is using sonar to chart any debris in the search for the plane's flight recorders on the sea floor. Officials say it will take 24 hours to complete each mission in which the sub will chart approximately 40 square kilometers.

The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board disappeared March 8 during a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Two-thirds of those on board were Chinese nationals.

A leading Malaysian newspaper has said investigators probing the plane's disappearance suspect the co-pilot attempted to make a cellphone call after the jetliner deviated from its original course.

The New Straits Times has said investigators believe the call ended abruptly after the phone made contact with a communications tower, as the jetliner flew at low altitude northwest of the island of Penang. The newspaper said its sources declined to reveal whom the caller was trying to reach.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has cast doubt on the report, telling reporters he would have been informed about such a call if it had taken place.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid