PERTH, Australia: The hunt for a missing Malaysian plane suffered another setback Wednesday when a second seabed search by a mini-submarine was cut short due to “technical” troubles after the first also aborted in very deep water.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) issued a brief statement which spoke of an unspecified “technical issue” with the unmanned Bluefin-21 sonar device. The first mission which began Monday night aborted automatically after breaching the machine’s maximum operating depth of 4,500 meters.
But there was no explanation for what caused the interruption of the second mission, which began Tuesday night, or how long it lasted.
“The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was forced to resurface this morning to rectify a technical issue,” JACC said.
“Bluefin-21 was then redeployed and it is currently continuing its underwater search.”
Before the device was put in the water for the third time, data had been downloaded from the vehicle while on the deck of the Australian vessel Ocean Shield, which has led the search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard.
“Initial analysis of the data downloaded this morning indicates no significant detections,” JACC said.