12:00 am - Friday November 20, 2015

MH370: Underwater drone scans ocean floor for 5th time; frustration bubbles

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An underwater drone dipped into the ocean Friday for its fifth trip to search for traces of the missing Malaysian plane as relatives of those aboard maintained their demand for answers.

Relatives compiled a list of 26 questions that they want addressed by a delegation of Malaysian officials who are headed to Beijing next week to appease their concerns.

Most of the 239 people on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were Chinese.

The questions include what’s in the flight’s log book, maintenance records and the recordings of air traffic control when the flight went missing.

Malaysia’s acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, has defended his government’s handling of the operation and accused the media of focusing on the Chinese families. He said relatives of other nations represented have not had problems.

“The most difficult part of any investigation of this nature is having to deal with the families in our case,” he said.

As frustration bubbles over, the Bluefin-21 was busy scanning the southern Indian Ocean seabed. Authorities said the vessel has scanned a total of 110 square kilometers (42.5 square miles) without making any “contacts of interest.”

After four dives, “there has been no debris or aircraft wreckage discovered,” said Phoenix International Holdings, which owns and operates the equipment under a contract for the U.S. Navy.

The underwater vessel takes two hours to get near the ocean floor and another two hours to return to the surface. It aims to map the ocean floor for 16 hours to retrieve data, which then take four hours to analyze.

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