Undersea robot resuming its search for missing jet

A robotic submarine is continuing its search for wreckage from the missing Malaysian jetliner, a day after its initial mission was cut short because the waters were too deep.

The “Bluefin-21” submarine is using sonar to help create a three-dimensional image of the floor of the southern Indian Ocean, where the Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed.

The vehicle’s initial mission Monday night was aborted after just six hours when it reached an area that exceeded its operating depth of 4,500 meters.

The Australian agency coordinating the search said Wednesday the submarine was redeployed after authorities found nothing of interest in the data from the first mission.

U.S. Navy officials have warned it could take up to two months for the submarine to search the 600-square kilometer area, which has never been mapped.

On the surface, a team of 14 aircraft and 11 ships continued Wednesday looking for debris and listening for black box signals, although authorities have warned that this effort will soon be ended.

It has now been a week since authorities last detected a signal they believe came from a locator beacon on the plane’s flight data recorder, which is now presumed to have run out of batteries.

The Malaysia Airlines jet, carrying 239 people, vanished five weeks ago while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysian officials think the plane was intentionally diverted, but have still refused to rule out other possibilities, including a massive mechanical malfunction.

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