The robotic submarine sent to look for the missing Malaysian jetliner deep in the Indian Ocean aborted its mission when the search area proved beyond its 15,000-foot limit, Australian authorities said Tuesday.
The Bluefin-21 submarine is using sonar to help create a three-dimensional image of the floor of the southern Indian Ocean, where the Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed.
The vehicle\’s initial mission on Monday night was aborted after just six hours when it reached an area that exceeded its operating depth of 4,500 meters.
The Australian agency coordinating the search said Wednesday the submarine was redeployed after authorities found nothing of interest in the data from the first mission.
U.S. Navy officials have warned it could take up to two months for the submarine to search the 600-square kilometer area, which has never been mapped.
On the surface, a team of 14 aircraft and 11 ships continued Wednesday looking for debris and listening for black box signals, although authorities have warned that this effort will soon be ended.
It has now been a week since authorities last detected a signal they believe came from a locator beacon on the plane\’s flight data recorder, which is now presumed to have run out of batteries.
Malaysian officials think the plane was intentionally diverted, but have still refused to rule out other possibilities, including a massive mechanical malfunction.
Flight MH370 went missing on 8 March with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with it over the South China Sea.