On 3rd Try, Drone on Hunt for Jet Works

Cost of search: About $234M?
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2014 7:31 AM CDT
On 3rd Try, Drone on Hunt for Jet Works
In a Monday, April 14, 2014 photo provided by the US Navy, operators aboard an Australian defense vessel move the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle into position for deployment.   (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, MC1 Peter D. Blair)

Some progress, some dead ends: A recently spotted oil slick in the area being searched for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has been analyzed, and it likely has nothing to do with the plane, CNN reports. But the search continues there, and the US Navy's Bluefin-21 has finally pulled off a "full mission" on its third attempt to do so, following issues with sea depth and technical problems, NBC News reports. The undersea drone has now covered some 35 square miles of the 230-square-mile search area, and its data is currently being analyzed. As of yesterday, there were "no significant detections," officials note.

And though it was expected to wrap up about now, the search by air and ship also continues, which Reuters suggests is due to continued pressure from families holding out hope floating wreckage will be spotted. As for cost, reports earlier this month said $44 million had been spent, and an Australian official now estimates that if private companies run the search, it could have a "ballpark" price tag of $234 million. "There'll come a time when we need to regroup and reconsider," says Malaysia's acting transport minister. "But in any event, the search will always continue. It's just a matter of approach." (More Malaysia stories.)

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