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Robot sub returns to the water

Tuesday - 4/15/2014, 1:30pm  ET

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- A robotic submarine looking for the missing Malaysian jet has returned to the water for its second mission.

Yesterday's planned 16-hour search lasted just six hours. It was cut short by a built-in safety feature that returned the U.S. Navy sub to the surface after it went deeper than its limit of about 15,000 feet.

None of the data gathered by the sub yesterday offered any clues to the whereabouts of the plane.

Before starting today's mission, crews shifted the search zone away from the deepest water in the area.

The sub is programmed to hover about 100 feet above the seabed. It can create a three-dimensional sonar map of any debris on the ocean floor. But the search is taking place in an area where the seabed is covered in silt that could potentially hide part of the plane.

%@AP Links

114-a-14-(Ian Wright, director, science and technology, National Oceanographic Center, in AP interview)-"water above it"-Ian Wright of Britain's National Oceanographic Center says there are so-called A.U.V.s, or Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, capable of reaching down to nearly 20,000 feet. But that type of A.U.V. is not readily available to the searchers. (15 Apr 2014)

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113-a-14-(Ian Wright, director, science and technology, National Oceanography Center, in AP interview)-"the sea surface"-Ian Wright of Britain's National Oceanography Center says the robotic submarine is programmed to avoid depths in which the pressure from the water above can crush it. (15 Apr 2014)

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APPHOTO SYD105: In this Monday, April 14, 2014, photo provided by the Australian Defense Force an autonomous underwater vehicle is deployed from ADV Ocean Shield in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. The search area for the missing Malaysian jet has proved too deep for the robotic submarine which was hauled back to the surface of the Indian Ocean less than half way through its first seabed hunt for wreckage and the all-important black boxes, authorities said on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Lt. Kelli Lunt) EDITORIAL USE ONLY Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is craned over the side of Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370. (14 Apr 2013)

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APPHOTO SYD110: In this map provided on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre details are presented in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. The search area for the missing Malaysian jet has proved too deep for a robotic submarine which was hauled back to the surface of the Indian Ocean less than half way through its first seabed hunt for wreckage and the all-important black boxes, authorities said. (AP Photo/Joint Agency Coordination Centre) EDITORIAL USE ONLY (15 Apr 2014)

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