October 19, 2016: Australia says an underwater drone will be used in the continuing deep sea search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Australia’s Transportation Safety Bureau said Wednesday it will fit one of the ships involved in the deep-sea sonar search with a special drone that will be used to investigate several pieces of debris identified in previous explorations as having some “man-made properties.”
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“The ROV (remotely operated vehicle) will be tasked to reacquire and investigate, through video imaging, a range of sonar contacts which have been identified during previous deep tow operations,” the ATSB said in a statement. “Winter weather conditions have, until now, prevented the safe deployment of the ROV, but now sea states are improving.”
The search will take place off Australia’s western coast, where officials say they’ve found more than 20 so-called sonar contacts that require further examination.
The Malaysia Airlines flight vanished more than two years ago on March 8, 2014, while travelling to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. There were 239 people aboard.
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Despite a massive search effort conducted off the Australian coastline where investigators believe the plane crashed, there has been no sign of the plane or the passengers aboard.
The search of a 120,000-square-kilometer area where the plane is suspected to have gone down is scheduled to be completed by January or February, Australian transportation officials said Wednesday.
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When that search area is completely cleared, the governments of China, Malaysia and Australia agreed to permanently suspend the effort, unless “credible new information” arises.(VOA)