Undersea search for MH370 resumes

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The search for MH370 has resumed, with the autonomous underwater vehicle Bluefin-21 operating from the ADV Ocean Shield in waters to the west of Australia.

“Over the next week, Bluefin-21 will search the remaining areas in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the towed pinger locator deployed from Ocean Shield that are within its depth operating limits,” says Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in a statement.

“This continues the process that will ultimately enable the search team to discount or confirm the area of the acoustic signals as the final resting place of MH370.”

The Bluefin-21 had been out of commission for one week, awaiting spare parts for its transponder to correct a hardware defect.

The Ocean Shield will return to its base in Perth on 28 May, when the Bluefin-21 and its support team will be disembarked.

Meanwhile, the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhun departed the port of Fremantle yesterday to commence mapping the sea floor in the search area. This will set the stage for a subsequent commercial deep ocean search.

Another Chinese vessel, the Haixun 1, will also be deployed to the area to support survey operations. This will include the transport of data to Fremantle, where it will be processed by Geosciences Australia.

“The work continues to review and analyse all the data and information relating to the likely flight path of MH370, together with the information acquired in the course of the search to date.,” says the JACC. “This work will confirm the best areas on which to focus an effective future search.”

Malaysia also plans to release the raw satellite data that investigators used to determine that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March. The Boeing 777-200 aircraft carried 227 passengers and 12 crew.