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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs