Drone diving to record level in Malaysian plane search




 
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April 19th, 2014  
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Topic: Drone diving to record level in Malaysian plane search


By Byron Kaye PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy deep-sea drone is diving to unprecedented depths to scour a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for a missing Malaysian jetliner as the Malaysian government said it may use more remote control submarines to help with the search. The Bluefin-21 and its "side scan" sonar has become the focal point of the search 2,000 km (1,200 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth, where authorities believe Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hit the ocean after disappearing from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board. Now in its seventh week, the search has centered on a city-sized area where a series of "pings" led authorities to believe the plane's black box may be located. After the $4 million Bluefin-21's searches were frustrated by an automatic safety mechanism which returns it to the surface when it exceeds a depth of 4.5 km (14,763 feet), authorities have adjusted the mechanism and have sent it as deep as 4,695 meters (15,403 feet), a record.




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