From Nik Nurfaqih Nik Wil
PERTH, (April 16 ) — No objects of interest were found from data collected by the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named Bluefin-21 in its first mission Monday to help locate the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said this was based on the analysis of all of the data collected over six hours.
The Bluefin-21 was again redeployed Tuesday night from the Australian defence vessel Ocean Shield for its second mission, the agency said in a statement Wednesday.
JACC chief coordinator Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Angus Houston told a press conference Monday that each AUV mission would take a minimum of 24 hours, including four to download and analyse the collected data.
Bluefin-21, a probe equipped with side-scan sonar that uses acoustic sounds to create a 3D map of the sea floor, has been deployed in the hope of locating any debris of the missing Malaysian plane.
It was deployed on its maiden mission from the Ocean Shield to a 40 sq km area to continue the search operation for MH370 underwater, as there were no further confirmed signals picked up by the towed pinger locator since April 8.
The statement said Wednesday’s operation would involve a visual search area totalling about 55,151 sq km, with the centre being 2,087km northwest of Perth.
Up to 11 military and three civil aircraft as well as 11 ships would assist in the search.
“The weather forecast for today is southeasterly winds with isolated rain showers, sea swells up to two metres and visibility of five kilometres,” the statement said.
Flight MH370 with 239 people aboard left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later, while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.
A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and later expanded to the Melaka Strait and Andaman Sea before shifting to the southern Indian Ocean.
Analysis of satellite data indicated that the Boeing 777-200 plane flew along what is called the ‘southern corridor’ and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of the aircraft, that Flight MH370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.—BERNAMA