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Deep-Water Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Resumes

The search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 continued in the depths of the Indian Ocean with a torpedo-shaped robotic submarine going to work to map the ocean floor in hope of finding traces of the missing plane.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the robotic sub Bluefin-21 was deployed on Tuesday night after deep ocean water ended its initial dive after just six hours.

The sub had been expected to search for 16 hours on Monday, but a built-in safety mechanism cut the journey short after the sub's depth limit of about 2.8 miles was reached, officials said.

Bluefin-21 is searching in the southern Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles off Australia’s west coast, an area of about the size of a medium city — 230 square miles — that officials think is the likeliest place the plane went down.

How Submarine Sonar Is Used to Search for Malaysia Flight 1:08

Acoustical signals believed to be from the aircraft’s black box or flight data recorder led searchers to the remote search area.

Bluefin-21 is capable of creating a three-dimensional sonar map of the area to chart debris on the sea floor. Still, no wreckage or physical trace of the plane has been found.

Analysis of data from Bluefin-21’s first mission showed “no objects of interest,” Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center said in a news release early Wednesday local time.

Some 11 military aircraft, three civil aircraft and 11 ships are assisting in the search for the plane, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

— Jeff Black