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article imageSearch for missing jet goes underwater

By Nathan Salant     Apr 5, 2014 in Odd News
Perth - After four weeks of frustration, nations taking part in the international search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean moved underwater on Friday.
Searchers are running out of time to find the plane's flight and data recorders because batteries powering their locating devices are due to run out in the next few days.
No other trace of the plane has yet been found despite a multination search involving two dozen planes and ships.
The Australian Navy's HMS Echo survey ship and Ocean Shield supply ship are leading the search along a 150-mile stretch of ocean thought to be where Flight 370 would have run out of fuel and crashed, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston told Cable News Network (CNN).
"The area of highest probability as to where the aircraft might have entered the water is the area where the underwater search will commence," Houston said at a news conference Friday.
"It's on the basis of data that arrived only recently, and it's the best data that is available," said Houston, head of Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre.
But the area of the search still is just an educated guess of where the jet might be.
Flight 370 disappeared from radar screens on March 8, less than an hour into a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Malaysia officials have so far led the multi-nation effort to find the plane and its 239 passengers and crew, but the search has failed to find any trace of the flight.
The Echo and the Ocean Shield are searching along a 150-mile line off more than 1,500 miles from Perth, Houston said.
The Ocean Shield is perhaps most significant because it is equipped with a giant underwater microphone to listen for the signals from the missing Boeing 777's two flight recorders and an underwater robot to examine the ocean floor.
But without any debris or other clues of where the plane entered the water, assuming it did, the entire search is based on high-tech guesswork.
"The area of highest probability as to where the aircraft might have entered the water is the area where the underwater search will commence," Houston told reporters.
"It's on the basis of data that arrived only recently, and it's the best data that is available," he said.
"Tthe best we can do right now is put these assets in the best location -- the best guess we have -- and kind of let them go," US Navy Cmdr. William Marks told CNN.
"Until we get conclusive evidence of debris, it is just a guess," he said.
Of course, the huge search on the surface of the Indian Ocean will continue, officials said.
But officials are warning that locating the missing jet could take months or longer, CNN said.
More about Malaysia, Missing plane, Boeing 777, Underwater, Search
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