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It has been 39 days since Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared.
In that amount of time, relatives of the 239 people on board have been waiting to be told what became of their loved ones, whether or not they will ever see them again.
The search for Flight 370 has been relentless, and multiple countries, including the United States, have joined in the search. But as time passes, bringing more questions than answers, hope has continued to dwindle.
Initially, the search covered a massive area, spanning much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Next, there were reports of debris floating in the ocean, but still, nothing was found.
Eventually, the search strategy shifted to efforts to track pings from the missing plane’s black box that might lead to its location before its 30-day battery life failed. Now, according to CNN, Australian Chief Search Coordinator Angus Houston announced Monday they will abandon the search for pings and begin using a Bluefin-21 unmanned, underwater vehicle equipped with side-scan sonar technology to search the bottom of the ocean for the lost plane.
The situation is enough to make anyone wonder — how can something as big and normally so well-tracked as an airplane be lost? The search, now that it has shifted to the ocean floor, is almost reminiscent of the search for the Titanic.
“This will be a slow and painstaking process,” Houston said of the Bluefin-21’s mission.
After all, the vehicle is only capable of searching approximately 15 square miles every 24 hours.
Despite the slow pace, the search must continue, not only for the sake of the people who are waiting to find answers about what happened to their loved ones, but also to find any information about how to prevent something like this from happening again.