Missing MH370: Sub's 'Search Will Continue' Beyond Target Zone

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/ Source: Reuters

PERTH, Australia - A robo-sub will keep scouring the Indian Ocean floor for traces of missing Flight MH370 after it finishes its current targeted search, Australian officials said as a tropical cyclone suspended the air search.

Authorities are under growing pressure to decide their next course of action as the U.S. Navy-owned Bluefin-21 drone nears the end of its first sweep of remote seabed which authorities believe is the most likely resting place of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 77 which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board.

The Bluefin-21 is expected to finish its targeted search of a 6.2 square mile stretch of ocean floor, where a signal suspected to be from the plane's black box was detected, on Wednesday. No wreckage has yet been found.

"Bluefin-21 has now completed more than 80 percent of the focused underwater search area and further missions are planned," the Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in an email. "The search will continue. We are currently consulting very closely with our international partners on the best way to effect this for the future."

As the Bluefin embarked on its 10th trip to depths of more than 2.8 miles, some 1,200 miles northwest of the Australian city of Perth, a tropical cyclone heading south over the Indian Ocean suspended the air search.

"It has been determined that the current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility, and would make any air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous," the JACC said.

- Reuters