Robot submarine's search for Malaysian jet cut short - – Rockford’s News Leader

Robot submarine's search for Malaysian jet cut short

PERTH, Australia (WREX) -

Deep water forced a robotic submarine looking for missing Malaysian jetliner MH370 back to the surface after just six hours.

The Bluefin 21 submarine was supposed to be on a 16-hour mission to make a sonar map of the Indian Ocean's floor, but the U.S. Navy and search coordinators say a built-in safety feature cut that mission short.

The submarine hovers about 100 feet above the seabed and creates a three-dimensional sonar map as it goes, but it has a maximum depth of 15,000 feet. When the sub entered an area deeper than that, it automatically headed back up to the surface. Officials say there was no damage to the device and data collected from it show no signs of the jetliner that's been missing since early March.

Search officials are moving the submarine's search away from the ocean's deepest water and are hoping for another mission later in the day.

While the Bluefin searched the ocean floor, samples from an oil slick about three-and-a-half miles away from where the last underwater sounds were detected was being reviewed. While officials say it doesn't look like it is from any ships in the area, they cautioned against jumping to conclusions over its source.


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