News / Asia

Robotic Submarine Completes First Full Search for MH370

Crew aboard the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle into position for deployment in the southern Indian Ocean to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, April 14, 2014.
Crew aboard the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle into position for deployment in the southern Indian Ocean to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, April 14, 2014.
VOA News
The robotic submarine searching for the wreckage from the missing Malaysian airliner has completed its first full 16-hour mission after two previous missions were cut short.

The Australian agency coordinating the search said Thursday the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle has searched 90 square kilometers of the ocean bed in its three missions.

It said an initial analysis of data retrieved has revealed "no significant detections."

The Bluefin-21 is using sonar to create a three-dimensional image of the floor of the southern Indian Ocean, where the Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed.

U.S. Navy officials have warned it could take up to two months for the submarine to search the 600-square kilometer area, which has never been mapped.

The search for flight MH370
 
  • A woman walks past graffiti of Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, April 15, 2014.
  • Crew aboard the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle into position in the southern Indian Ocean to look for Flight MH370, April 14, 2014. (US NAVY)
  • Co-pilot and Squadron Leader Brett McKenzie looks from the cockpit of a Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft as they fly over the southern Indian Ocean, to continue the search for Flight MH370, April 13, 2014.
  • The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Perth is guided into position by a Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft as the search continues for Flight MH370, April 13, 2014.
  • People take part in a special prayer for passengers onboard Flight MH370, at Kechara retreat center in Bentong, outside Kuala Lumpur, April 13, 2014.
  • A Naval aircrewman unloads a Sonobuoy from a rack onboard a P-8A Poseidon during a search mission to locate Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, in this U.S. Navy handout photo taken April 10, 2014.
  • The daughter of a Chinese passenger on Flight MH370 shows her mobile phone displaying a photo of her father, near the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers at a hotel in Beijing, April 11, 2014.
  • Relatives of passengers on Flight MH370 wait for news outside a conference room at a hotel in Beijing, April 8, 2014.

On the surface, a team of 14 aircraft and 11 ships continued looking for debris and listening for black box signals, although authorities have warned that this effort will soon be ended.

It has now been a week since authorities last detected a signal they believe came from a locator beacon on the plane's flight data recorder, which is presumed to have run out of batteries.

The Malaysia Airlines jet, carrying 239 people, vanished five weeks ago while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysian officials think the plane was intentionally diverted.  But they have refused to rule out other possibilities, including a massive mechanical malfunction.


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