As the search for the Malaysia MH370 plane that’s been missing for over a month continues, Australian authorities working on the Defence Force Ocean Shield vessel, have decided to deploy the Bluefin 21 underwater drone to conduct a sonar search in the Indian Ocean seafloor.
The decision to deploy the Bluefin 21 came after hope to retrieve any more signals on top of four detected earlier on in the search from the plane’s blackbox, died in the last couple of weeks as authorities say the batteries in the blackbox have most probably run out.
The Bluefin 21 had been sent to Australian authorities by the US Navy back in March to help with the search. It will go on four 24-hour underwater missions, with the first mission starting today, covering 40 square kilometres and going as deep as approximately 4 500 metres, where it will take high-resolution images of the seafloor and download data.
There’s no telling how long it will take to assemble and build a mosaic from the estimated thousands of photos that will be taken from the Bluefin 21. “It may be very difficult. This will be a slow and painstaking process.” said Australian search chief Angus Houston.
“The chances of any floating material being recovered have greatly diminished and it will be appropriate to confer with Australia’s partners to decide the way ahead later this week,” he said.