Naval teams searching for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board have lost their sonar detector, the most important equipment they were using the map the seabed for signs of the lost aircraft.
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This happened on Sunday according to the BBC, and officials said the deep-water sonar detector “collided with a mud volcano which rises 2,200 meters from the seafloor.”
The sonar detector was not the only equipment lost, the 4,500-meter cable used to pull it through water also snapped and got lost in the incident.
The Australian team working on the search thinks they should be able recover the cable and the sonar detector much later. But it is not clear if this loss will in any way impede the search operation which had been said will be over by June this year.
Since the MH370 plane disappeared during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, researchers have focused attention on the Indian Ocean, due to data gleaned from satellite communications. However, no conclusive object or debris had been found to indicate the airplane went down in this area, apart from a debris found on the French island of Reunion.
The ship is scouring about 120,000 square kilometers (46,330 square miles) of the southern Indian Ocean, where the sonar detector is dragged deep in the water at about 100 meters or 330 feet above the seabed to map underwater terrain.
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Furgo Discovery, the search ship deployed for the operation is on its way back to Fremantle in Australia where another cable will be fitted before it returns to sea to continue with the search. There is a spare sonar detector that could still be used onboard the ship.