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Samples collected from oil slick not from MH370



PERTH, Australia (AP) -- Investigators were analyzing data collected by a robotic submarine that completed its first successful scan of the seabed Thursday in the hunt for the missing Malaysian plane, but say tests have ruled out that a nearby oil slick came from the aircraft.

The unmanned sub's first two missions were cut short by technical problems and deep water, but the Bluefin 21 finally managed to complete a full 16-hour scan of the silt-covered seabed far off Australia's west coast, the search coordination center said. While data collected during the mission, which ended overnight, were still being analyzed, nothing of note had yet been discovered, the center said. The sub has now covered 90 square kilometers (35 square miles) of seafloor.

Separately, the center said the oil analysis done in the western city of Perth came up empty when the samples tested negative for aircraft oil or hydraulic fluid. The oil was collected earlier this week from a slick about 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) from the area where equipment picked up underwater sounds consistent with an aircraft black box.

It was hoped that the oil would be evidence that officials are looking in the right place for Flight 370, which vanished March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. Searchers have yet to find any physical proof that the sounds that led them to the ocean floor where the Bluefin has been deployed were from the ill-fated jet.

Twelve planes and 11 ships were scouring a 40,300-square-kilometer (15,600-square-mile) patch of sea for any debris that may be floating on the ocean surface, about 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) northwest of Perth.

Despite weeks of searching, no debris related to the jet has been found and earlier this week, search effort leader Angus Houston said the surface hunt would be ending within days. But the search coordination center on Thursday said crews would continue searching the ocean surface into next week.

Malaysia's defense minister, Hishamuddin Hussein, confirmed that the search would continue through Easter weekend, but acknowledged that officials would have to rethink their strategy at some point if nothing is found.

"There will come a time when we need to regroup and reconsider, but in any event, the search will always continue. It's just a matter of approach," he said at a news conference Thursday.

Radar and satellite data show the Boeing 777 flew far off-course for an unknown reason and would have run out of fuel in a desolate patch of the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

A ship-towed device detected four underwater signals that are believed to have come from the plane's black boxes shortly before the batteries powering the devices' beacons likely died. The sounds helped narrow the search area to the waters where the Bluefin is now operating.

The U.S. Navy's unmanned sub cut short its first mission on Monday because it exceeded its maximum operating depth of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet). Searchers moved it away from the deepest waters before redeploying the sub to scan the seabed with sonar to map a potential debris field.

But the center said Thursday that officials are now confident that the sub can safely go deeper than was thought, allowing it to cover the entire search area, which has been narrowed based on further analysis of the four underwater signals.

In addition to finding the plane itself, investigators want to recover the black boxes in hopes the cockpit voice and flight data recorders can explain why the plane lost communications and flew so far off-course before disappearing.


Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.


Drone Searching for MH370 Returns to Surface

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ectullis April 17 2014 at 5:04 PM

This is getting more bazaar day by day

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la231 April 17 2014 at 2:42 PM

At this point they're not sure when the ocean surface hunt will end, 1 person says one thing and another says something else, nothing unusual. Hope they are not thinking about regrouping the underwater search just yet bc they said bluefin could take up to 6 wks. to search the area where the box(s) are supposedly located.

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dwtomczyk April 17 2014 at 5:00 PM

plane = 0
garbage scow = 1

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Dr. Cal Harris April 17 2014 at 1:36 PM

One of the tragedies in all of this (besides the horrible ordeal that the familes live with each day) is the wild goose chase that everyone seems to be on. If it is in that part of the ocean (as a retired Navy Aviator my "guess" is that there is a zero chance it went that direction) it is too deep and too dynamic (fast currents, huge storms) to find any remains. They would be scattered over 100s of miles.

I think it is cruel of the NEWS to keep this on page one. From the beginning it has been truly non-NEWS. It seems that only sad, tragic or horrific stories appeal to readers anymore.

My guess is as good as anyone in the absense of any proof what-so-ever.

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zonahammer April 17 2014 at 2:39 PM

something just isn't right about this whole mess..

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swoo916974 April 17 2014 at 1:29 PM

why why are they not looking on land could they have crashed on a island this is so awful

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searune April 17 2014 at 2:48 PM

The oil slick was probably from the search vehicle.

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spudbays April 17 2014 at 1:21 PM

Many countries and the most expensive equipment in the world, still can't find this aircraft. What makes these people so sure the plane went down? Maybe it landed somewhere and is being fitted with bombs (dirty, nuclear....) by terrorists to make another attack in New York City. It wouldn't surprise me if these idiots were planning to take down the towers again. Why would Obama say his worst fear is a bombing of New York? I don't know, maybe I watch too many conspiracy movies and it has clouded my mind, but I think these experts looking for the plane know something more and are not saying. Maybe they don't want to start a panic in the US, but there has to be more to the story. I feel so sorry for the families of those that were on board.

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2 replies
John spudbays April 17 2014 at 1:36 PM

They'll find it when the muslim terrorists return it with intentions to kill other humans. Just hope it is too far away to hit the US.

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1 reply
Sandra John April 17 2014 at 2:09 PM

It could be used to threaten an entire country and have others take over. It is scary. While America is watching Dancing with the Stars.....others in this world are plotting and planning to take over ---How did we ever become so stupid ? I had a job a few years ago part time with a group who said.....that if I wanted to work there, I had to watch Dancing with the Stars and enter in the weekly guessing game and discuss the results! Really.......??? They are not only dumbing down our kids.....Adults are also being distracted from the reality of life and forced to pretend that we are all at Disney and nothing is real. Wake up America.....you are definitely sleeping.

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surghucjls spudbays April 17 2014 at 1:39 PM

I had read that on board that flight to another Country were scientists/engineers ( military/defense ) with top secret information/ blueprints/ working models. I believe that is why all these Countries are in on the search. There is something on that flight that they all want badly. I also believe that that plane is on an island with passengers either being held hostage or killed and the search is a distraction for covert operations going on. One of the Countries, US included, has that plane and passengers.

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jimbettydyle1 April 17 2014 at 2:37 PM


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SANDRA A.SWANSON April 17 2014 at 2:45 PM

Is it even in that area, that they are searching????

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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