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Hunt for MH370 pushes sonar loaded underwater robot to its limits

Published on Apr 8, 2014 3:54 PM
 
Workers assemble a Blue Fin 21 automatic Underwater Vehicle, an autonomous sonar mapping device, which will be towed behind the Australian Defence Vessel 'Ocean Shield' during search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at naval base HMAS Stirling on Garden Island, 60kms south of Perth, on March 30, 2014.  A torpedo-shaped mini-sub could provide conclusive proof that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean, but the task is set to push the machine to its limits. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

Missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 special report

SYDNEY (AFP) - A torpedo-shaped mini-sub could provide conclusive proof that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean, but the task is set to push the machine to its limits.

The Bluefin-21, a 493 centimetre (16.2 feet) long sonar device is expected to be deployed to the ocean floor in the days ahead to look for debris from Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8.

Mr Angus Houston, who heads the agency coordinating the eight-nation hunt, said that after more work to detect "pings" consistent with those issued from aircraft black boxes the autonomous submersible could be deployed in the remote area off western Australia where the search is focused.

 
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