Missing MH370: Underwater hunt for Malaysia Airlines jet could e - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Missing MH370: Underwater hunt for Malaysia Airlines jet could end by May

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The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search area, shown in a map from the Australia Transportation Safety Bureau. The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search area, shown in a map from the Australia Transportation Safety Bureau.
(NBC News) - The underwater hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may be finished by May, authorities said Wednesday.

More than 4,247 square miles of the floor of the southern Indian Ocean — an area half the size of Lake Erie — have now been searched, the Australia Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) announced in an update.

It represents about one fifth of the total search area that marine experts are trawling in the hope of finding clues to the whereabouts of the Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

The ATSB said that one of the vessels involved in the search, Fugro Discovery, "experienced a system issue with a component of the search equipment" on Saturday.

"Search activities have been suspended while the issue is remedied." However, the statement said: "Assuming no significant delays with vessels, equipment or from the weather, the current underwater search area may be largely completed around May 2015."

One other vessel, GO Phoenix, was still in the area on Wednesday but a third ship, Fugro Equator, was scheduled to return to shore in Australia.

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