Underwater drone resumes search for MH370

18 April 2014

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An underwater drone is continuing to scan the Indian Ocean seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, despite failing to find any sign of the aircraft this week.

This handout image taken on April 1, 2014 and received on April 10, 2014 from the US Navy shows the Bluefin 21, Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) being hoisted back aboard the Australia's Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test. - AFP

This handout image taken on April 1, 2014 and received on April 10, 2014 from the US Navy shows the Bluefin 21, Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) being hoisted back aboard the Australia’s Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test. – AFP

The Bluefin-21 underwater drone has been deployed for a fifth time after completing another fruitless mission overnight.

Friday’s search is expected to cover 51,870sq km and will involve up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said a rethink on the search will be needed if the Bluefin-21, which has so far searched about 110sq km since its first deployment on Monday, failed to find the wreckage of flight MH370.

The Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC) has said the search will continue for the next three days, but has not elaborated on activities after that.

The search is focusing on seabed more than 2000km northwest of Perth, in the same area where an oil slick was found last Sunday.

But JAAC’s preliminary analysis of the slick showed it was not aircraft engine oil or hydraulic fluid.

Mr Abbott says he’s confident the search is focused on the right place, based on acoustic signals detected by a pinger locator towed by the Australian naval vessel Ocean Shield on April 5 and 8.

This Saturday will mark six weeks since flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared.

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