Sub launched in search for missing Malaysian Flight 370

14b 14c 14d 14eA submarine is to be sent deep into the Indian Ocean to try to determine whether signals detected by sound-locating equipment were from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

 

The move comes after crews picked up a series of underwater sounds that were consistent with signals emitted by an aircraft’s black boxes.

However, no signal has been heard since March 8 and now the Australian-led search effort has ordered search ship Ocean Shield to launch the submarine.

The Bluefin-21, a 4.93-metre long sonar device, weighs 750 kilogrammes and can operate at depths of 4,500 metres, the approximate depth of the signals that have been detected.

The Bluefin-21’s side-scanning sonar and will focus on 40 sq km of sea floor in the area of the detected signals with each mission taking a minimum of 24 hours. It will take two hours to reach the sea floor where it will stay for 16 hours generating high-resolution 3D maps before taking another two hours to surface. Downloading and analysing data will then require a further four hours.

It is expected to take six weeks to two months to complete its search of the area where the aircraft is believed to have entered the water several hours after disappearing from radar surveillance as it flew from Malaysia to Beijing on March 8, with 239 people onboard.

An oil slick has been detected in the search zone, some of which has been collected and is being sent back to land for testing over the next few 14ddays.

Up to 11 military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 15 ships will assist in today’s search for the missing aircraft.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 47,644 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2,200 kilometres north west of Perth.

The Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield will continue conducting more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to aircraft black boxes.

The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield. The oceanographic ship HMS Echo is also working in the area with Ocean Shield.

There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours.

The weather forecast for today is south easterly winds with possible showers, sea swells up to 1.5 metres and visibility of three to five kilometres.

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