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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/14/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An oil slick, a failed cell phone call, searchers taunted by clues.

International search efforts for Malaysia Air Flight 370 continue in the Indian Ocean, over a thousand miles off the coast of Perth Australia. Although investigators believe the batteries that power the data recorders are likely dead, other tantalizing clues about the fate of the airplane abound.

The Bluefin 21 submersible will scan the seafloor for any signs of wreckage. Each mission will take about 24 hours to complete and another day will be needed to prepare Bluefin for a second mission. The search could take weeks.

The Bluefin 21 submersible will scan the seafloor for any signs of wreckage. Each mission will take about 24 hours to complete and another day will be needed to prepare Bluefin for a second mission. The search could take weeks.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/14/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Flight 370, Malaysian Airlines, hijacked, black box, pinger, locator, beacon, oil, clues, tantalizing


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - International search efforts for missing Flight 370 entered a new phase as the Bluefin 21 underwater mapping probe was deployed from an Australian ship this morning, local time.

The Bluefin 21 has been at work for nearly a day already, and now close to the end of its first 16-hour run at the bottom, will soon come up for retrieval by the Australian ship, Ocean Shield. After that, the data will be downloaded and a painstaking review process will begin. Even if Bluefin 21 detects wreckage on the sea floor, it may be at least another day or more before the discovery is announced. The process of mapping the seafloor is very painstaking.

Pray for those affected by this tragedy.

The Bluefin 21 was deployed after five days of silence during which searchers came to believe that the underwater pingers on both the black box and voice data recorder went quiet. The batteries for both devices had a guaranteed lifespan of just 30 days. Searchers were hoping for one more ping, to help triangulate the position of the underwater wreck. This never came.

Other tantalizing clues have come to light.

First, it has been revealed that Flight 370 rounded the northern coast of Indonesia and climbed as high as 45,000 ft., and as low as 5,000 ft. This has been known for some time, but now the pattern has been confirmed by Malaysian officials who say it is definite evidence suggesting the plane was hijacked.

Last week rumors also surfaced that suggested the co-pilot, 27-year old Fariq Abdul Hamid may have attempted to place a cell phone call while in flight. It is believed he powered his cellphone on and may have attempted a call. Was he calling to warn of trouble? It's difficult to know because no call came through.

Another tantalizing clue is in the form of an oil slick that was found just a few miles away from where pings were detected earlier in the month. That oil has been sampled and sent for analysis. If it belongs to Flight 370, it will confirm the plane's likely location in the vicinity.

Still, finding the actual crash site will take time and luck because the search area is still vast, spanning an area hundreds of miles square. The Bluefin 21 vehicle takes two hours to descend to search depth, and another two hours to return to the surface. The vehicle has about 16 hours of time to search slowly under the waves.

Finally, once the location is found, recovery efforts will likely focus on the flight recorders and possibly any bodies of the deceased, which are expected to be present deep underwater. How this will be accomplished remains unclear, although submersible craft will be needed for all efforts.

It is unlikely that any announcements will come within the next day or so, however by the end of the week we should have analysis of the oil slicks complete and it is a distinct possibility that Bluefin 21 may have located the wreck by then.

Otherwise, the search could continue for weeks until the entire area in question has been canvassed. If the wreck isn't found after that, the case could become cold with nations unable to spend unlimited money on recovery efforts.

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