Missing flight MH370: Robotic submarine to begin search
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