Hunt for Flight 370 Hits Hurdle As Underwater Vehicle Resurfaces
Searchers to Study Data from Submarine, Will Redeploy Tuesday
The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines entered a new phase on Monday as the quest for pings was abandoned and an underwater vehicle was deployed to examine the floor of the southern Indian Ocean.
Australian authorities reported Tuesday that the autonomous underwater vehicle tasked the search of the sea floor hit a hurdle on its first mission and returned to the surface.
The Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle was launched from the Royal Australian Navy’s Ocean Shield, which had previously been trawling the waters fitted with U.S. Navy black-box detector equipment that is capable of picking up signals emanating from well below the ocean surface.
After completing six hours of its 16-hour mission, the Bluefin 21 exceeded its operating depth of 4,500 meters or almost 15,000 feet and, according to a statement released by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which is managing the search effort, “its built in safety feature returned it to the surface” automatically.
The agency said that it is analyzing the six hours of data that the Bluefin 21 collected and that the autonomous underwater vehicle will be redeployed later today.
(Map: Joint Agency Coordination Centre)