Miss­ing flight MH370: Ro­botic sub­ma­rine to be­gin search

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL / MIDDLE EAST & ASIA -

Teams search­ing for the miss­ing Malaysia Air­lines plane are to de­ploy a ro­botic sub­ma­rine for the first time. Search chief An­gus Hous­ton said the Bluefin-21 drone would be sent down as soon as pos­si­ble to search for wreck­age on the sea floor.

Teams have been us­ing a towed pinger lo­ca­tor to lis­ten for sig­nals from the plane’s “black box” flight recorders.

But no new sig­nals have been heard since 8 April, amid con­cerns the flight recorders’ bat­ter­ies have ex­pired.

Flight MH370 went miss­ing on 8 March with 239 people on board. It was fly­ing from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing when it lost con­tact with air traf­fic con­trollers over the South China Sea.

Malaysian of­fi­cials be­lieve, based on satel­lite data, that it ended its flight in the south­ern In­dian Ocean, thou­sands of kilo­me­tres off course.

An in­ter­na­tional search has fo­cused on wa­ters west of the Aus­tralian city of Perth, with teams rac­ing against time to de­tect sig­nals be­fore the flight recorder bat­ter­ies - which last about one month - run out.

Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton, who heads the joint agency co-or­di­nat­ing the search ef­fort, said that given no sig­nals had been de­tected in six days, it was time to go un­der­wa­ter.

The Bluefin-21 - an al­most 5m-long un­der­wa­ter au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle that can cre­ate a sonar map of the sea floor - will search for wreck­age in an area de­fined by four sig­nals heard last week. BBC

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