Malaysia Airlines MH370: Australia to Use Technology that Helped Locate Sunken Titanic, Debris Not Part of Missing Plane

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 24, 2014 12:31 PM EST

Australia is planning to deploy a highly sophisticated powerful sonar equipment that is similar to the one that helped locate the sunken Titanic 29 years ago as the country vowed to continue the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. This, as the Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirmed on Thursday the "object of interest" debris recovered on a beach on the coast of Western Australia does not belong to the missing aircraft.

REUTERS/U.S. Navy photo by Mas
Crew aboard the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle into position for deployment in the southern Indian Ocean to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, April 14, 2014 in this handout picture released by the U.S. Navy.

The Bluefin-21 drone is due to end its first full mission. It "has now completed more than 80 per cent of the focused underwater search area," the Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said in a statement.

But up until now, the autonomous underwater vehicle Bluefin-21, a U.S. Navy probe equipped with side-scan sonar, has yet to find any tangible proof of the fallen passenger jet in the vast Indian Ocean waters.

Suffice to say, the international search team led by Australia is also hanging on the beam on what to do next.

"The next phase, I think, is that we step up with potentially a more powerful, more capable side-scan sonar to do deeper water," David Johnston, Australia's defence minister, said.

This particular equipment proved helpful in locating the wreck of the Titanic, found 3,800 m under the Atlantic Ocean in 1985 as well as the 2008 discovery of the Australian Second World War wreck HMAS Sydney in the Indian Ocean.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott vowed to exhaust all possible means and strategies to locate the mystery plane.

"If at the end of that period we find nothing, we are not going to abandon the search, we may well rethink the search, but we will not rest until we have done everything we can to solve this mystery," Mr Abbott said.

Meantime, ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan has confirmed the debris recovered on a beach on the coast of Western Australia does not belong to the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 aircraft.

"We do not consider this likely to be of use to our search for MH370," Mr Dolan told The Associated Press. "At this stage, we are not getting excited."

The material appeared to be sheet metal with rivets.

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(Photo: REUTERS/U.S. Navy photo by Mas / )
Crew aboard the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle into position for deployment in the southern Indian Ocean to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, April 14, 2014 in this handout picture released by the U.S. Navy.
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