Oil slick found in search area as visual search continues for missing Malaysian plane

(Reuters) — Visual searches over the Southern Indian ocean continued even as the head of the Australian agency supervising the hunt for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane said on Monday (April 14) that an autonomous underwater vehicle would soon be deployed, moving the search underwater after nearly six weeks of fruitless surveillance.

Australian authorities said an oil slick was located in the search area on Sunday (April 13), thought they added they were pessimistic about the likelihood of finding any floating debris.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared soon after taking off on March 8 from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.

Searchers are confident they know the approximate position of where the Boeing 777 crashed some 1,550 km (963 miles) northwest of Perth, and are moving ahead on the basis of four acoustic signals they believe are from its black box recorders.

The batteries in the plane’s black box are now two weeks past their 30-day expected life and searchers will be relying on sonar and cameras on the Bluefiun-21 to detect the box.