Two-thirds of underwater search for missing jet completed

54Canberra, April 21 (IANS) Two-thirds of the planned underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been completed, with no signs so far of the jet, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said Monday.

The Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) completed mission eight in the underwater search area and its ninth mission will commence Monday, Xinhua reported.

“Bluefin-21 has searched approximately two thirds of the focused underwater search area to date. No contacts of interest have been found to date,”the JACC confirmed.

The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10 km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on April 8.

Ten military aircraft and 11 ships will assist in Monday’s search.

But the weather forecast has conditions deteriorating, particularly in the north of the search area, as Tropical Cyclone Jack continues its track southwards.

Wide spread showers are developing with isolated thunderstorms to the north and east south-easterly winds.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 49,491 square kilometers for Monday.

The centre of the search area lies approximately 1,741 kilometers northwest of Perth.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

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