Search officials analyzing data from Bluefin-21, the unmanned submarine which dove into the depths of the southern Indian Ocean Monday to look for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, found nothing of interest and were preparing to send the vessel out on another mission Tuesday.
Search crews will dispatch the Bluefin-21 back into the Indian Ocean later Tuesday when weather conditions permit, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said, in a statement, after the original 16-hour mission was cut short when the vessel resurfaced after completing only six hours under water because the search area proved deeper than the unmanned craft's operating limits. The launch of the autonomous underwater vehicle began Monday with a mission to scour the bed of the ocean in an attempt to determine whether signals detected last week by ships and aircraft were from the missing jetliner’s black box.
"In this case, the vehicle's programmed to fly 30 meters over the floor of the ocean to get a good mapping of what's beneath and to the sides, and the chart we have for the area showed that water depth to be between the 4,200 and 4,400-meter depth," U.S. Naval Captain Mark Matthew, who heads the U.S. presence in the search effort, reportedly said, according to CNN.
David Kelly, president and CEO of Bluefin Robotics, which manufactured the unmanned submarine being used in the search, said that it was disappointing that the mission ended early but added that such issues are not uncommon. "We've operated these vehicles around the globe. It's not unusual to get into areas where the charts aren't accurate or you lack information."
Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting transport minister, reportedly said Tuesday that it was more important now to find the truth behind the disappearance of Flight MH370 than “who gets custody of the black box.”
The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight, with 239 people on board, vanished shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, triggering a massive, international search effort involving dozens of countries and agencies.