The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 hasn't yet found the plane, but it did turn up a lost piece of equipment last week. Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center, which has been leading the international efforts to locate evidence from the vanished aircraft, announced Wednesday it had recovered its deep-tow sonar vehicle from an underwater mud volcano Feb. 3. The vehicle, also called a towfish, will soon resume scanning the Indian Ocean floor.
The $1 million towfish was on the Fugro Discovery when it ran into the 7,200-foot mud volcano in late January. The cable broke, and the Discovery got a new towfish to use in the meantime, the News Corp Australia Network reported. The Havila Harmony helped rescue the towfish last week "safely and successfully, with little delay to the ongoing search," according to an operational update. The sonar vehicle didn't sustain much external damage.
But the Fugro Discovery's problems weren't over. When the vessel was getting ready to deploy its replacement towfish this week, workers noticed the cable was damaged. To fix this, the ship had to sail back to port in Fremantle, Australia — a journey that could take up to five days.
"In an ultra-deep-water search operation of this scale, over such complex sea floor terrain, events of this type are not unexpected," the center wrote in its update.
— Mike Chillit (@MikeChillit) February 10, 2016
— Ash (@ashren) February 10, 2016
More than 85,000 of the 120,000 square kilometers set to be searched have been combed for evidence of MH370. The operation is scheduled to finish in June and will not be extended unless new information is uncovered.
MH370 disappeared March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. All 239 people on board are presumed dead, and only one confirmed piece of debris from the plane has been discovered: a flaperon wing part.