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50 days later still no trace of flight MH370

April 26, 2014 12:42 IST

The hunt for the crashed Malaysian jet on Saturday entered its 50th day with a robotic mini-submarine having scoured about 95 per cent of the search area so far with still no sign of any wreckage.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has on Saturday planned a visual search area totaling approximately 57,311 square kilometres.

The centre of the search area lies approximately 1,584 kilometres north west of Perth.

The Bluefin-21 AUV submersible has completed nearly 95 per cent of the focused underwater search area but no contacts of interest have been found to date, the Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) leading the search said.

Up to 8 military aircraft and 11 ships are assisting in today's search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Early into mission 13 on Friday the Bluefin had to abort the search and resurface due to a software issue that required resetting.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle has technically sophisticated equipment and a reset is not uncommon.

Technicians resolved the issue overnight and mission 14 is now underway, the JACC said.

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.

Mystery continues to shroud the fate of the Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 that veered off its route carrying 239 people, including five Indians, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

A major challenge that has complicated the search is floating garbage in the ocean. Other objects spotted in the Indian Ocean earlier turned out to be trash, jellyfish and fishing gear.

Australia has indicated that the approach to the search might be revised with more powerful underwater vehicles if the Bluefin's search yields no results. It is mulling deploying a more powerful system that tracked the Titanic 29 years ago to locate the wreckage of the plane.

Malaysia is also under increasing pressure to reveal details about its investigation into the incident. Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday that his government would make public a preliminary report on the plane's disappearance next week. 

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