The unmanned Bluefin-21 submarine deployed to search for wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner on the sea floor, after acoustic signals consistent with an aircraft black box narrowed down the likely search area last week, has been forced to resurface.
A technical glitch has halted operations, with the autonomous submarine already in its second mission.
The Bluefin-21, currently the only tool available to the search teams to move forward with the investigation after the black box batteries ran out more than 30 days after the suspected crash, resurfaced early on Wednesday due to unspecified technical problems.
Sonar data downloaded from the system hadn’t shown any promising findings and the drone was sent into the depths of the southern Indian Ocean again. On Tuesday, the Bluefin-21’s quest reached its depth limit of 4.5km, prompting it to return to the surface after only six hours of scanning the seabed.
E&T News covered this Bluefin-21 story in more detail today.
Click on the graphic for an expanded view.