Sonar Vehicle Seeking MH370 Crashes Into Volcano

The accident will set the search for the missing plane back by 12 days
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2016 6:52 PM CST
Sonar Vehicle Looking for Flight MH370 Crashes Into Volcano
A 3D view of the underwater volcano that snuck up on a towfish sonar vehicle (represented in the image) searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.   (Australian Transport Safety Bureau)

A "towfish" sonar vehicle searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 didn't find the missing plane, but it did find a 7,400-foot-tall underwater volcano…when it crashed right into it on Sunday, NBC News reports. The towfish was being dragged by a search vessel and scanning the floor of the Indian Ocean when it hit the volcano. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, searchers plan to recover the million-dollar towfish, which is sitting under more than 8,500 feet of water, sometime in the future. The search vessel has a backup towfish but has to travel to Australia to replace the 2.8-mile cable it also lost in the accident, CNN reports. The trip will cause a 12-day delay in the search for the missing plane.

Flight MH370 has been missing since March 2014, when it disappeared with 239 people onboard while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, NBC reports. Searchers have covered about 70%—more than 32,000 square miles—of the search zone so far. If they haven't turned up any "credible new information" on the location of the missing plane by the time they complete the entire zone in mid-2016, they'll call the search off. In the meantime, the Joint Agency Coordination Center will be investigating to find out exactly how a giant underwater volcano (which the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has a 3D image of) snuck up on its towfish, according to the Morning Herald. (More MH370 stories.)

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