1:49 pm - Saturday November 7, 2015

Flight MH370 search at ‘critical juncture': Malaysia minister

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KUALA LUMPUR: The search for missing flight MH370 is at a “critical juncture”, Malaysia’s transport minister said on Saturday, two days after Australia’s premier said a submersible device had one week to find wreckage from the plane in the Indian Ocean.

“The search for today and tomorrow is at a critical juncture. We appeal for everybody around the world to pray that we find something,” transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

An underwater robotic submarine is expected to finish searching a narrowed down area of the Indian Ocean seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane within the next week, after completing six missions and so far coming up empty, the search coordination center said Saturday.

As the hunt for Flight 370 hit week six, the Bluefin 21 unmanned sub began its seventh trip into the depths off the coast off western Australia. Its search area forms a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) circle around the location of an underwater signal that was believed to be coming from the aircraft’s black boxes before the batteries died. The sonar scan of the seafloor in that area is expected to be completed in five to seven days, the center said in an email to the Associated Press.

The US Navy sub has covered around 133 square kilometers (51 square miles) since it began diving into the depths March 14. The latest data are being analyzed, but nothing has yet been identified.

Meanwhile on Saturday, up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continued to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board.

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