NEW YORK (CNN) – As the Bluefin-21’s search for flight 370 winds down with no sign of the missing plane, investigators are shifting focus to sort out what should happen next.
Should they move the search area or perhaps bring in other underwater devices to scan areas the Bluefin-21 may have missed?
On Thursday potentially the final day of searching the part of the ocean investigators thought was their best hope.
It is a place they had to look. They had the pings and the inmarsat data, the fuel consumption of the aircraft. Everything pointed to this area.
Crews have so far covered 90 percent of a six mile radius area with the Bluefin, looking for the missing Malaysian plane with no luck.
Nearly three weeks ago the towed pinger locator detected four signals in close proximity, thought to be from the planes black boxes
Crews said the second ping was the highest quality and that’s why they launched the Bluefin in this small area first.
During its day-long missions the Bluefin is being pushed to its limits diving deeper than designed. It uses side scan sonar and then resurfaces so data can be downloaded and studied.
Investigators say they’re re-grouping and re-evaluating current search efforts. It’s something familiar to David Gallo who was part of the search for Air France flight 447.
It’s just a matter of sitting in a room, going over what we don’t know and what we do next. It was a long period months, before we came up with the next plan on what to do.
It took 75 days of subsea search missions over two years to find that wreckage. In this investigation the subsea search area could be shifted or expanded.
Perhaps to include the other three pings and using other vehicles to scan the ocean floor. This Remus 6000 was used in the search for air France 447 and can go deeper than the Bluefin.
Another option, a towed sonar system, like the Orion which can continuously scan large areas underwater. But Gallo says whatever the system he expects this general part of the ocean to still be the target.
I just don’t know how you leave this place before you really take that part of the sea apart completely.