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Local Expert Discusses Limitations In Deep Water Search For Missing Plane

An observer watches as a smoke flare is deployed to mark an unidentified object spotted from a RNZAF P3 Orion during search operations for wreckage and debris of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Southern Indian Ocean on April 4, 2014, near Australia. (Photo by Nick Perry - Pool/Getty Images)

An observer watches as a smoke flare is deployed to mark an unidentified object spotted from a RNZAF P3 Orion during search operations for wreckage and debris of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Southern Indian Ocean on April 4, 2014, near Australia. (Photo by Nick Perry – Pool/Getty Images)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A robot submarine may soon be deployed to help in the search of the missing Malaysian jetliner in the Indian Ocean, but what about sophisticated manned subs with sonar capability?

KYW’s John McDevitt spoke with a local expert on submarines and their limitations in the search for a black box.

A sophisticated manned standard modern submarine has a crush depth of 2,000 feet.

Jesse Lebovics is the Historic Ships Manager at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing says the black box is expected to be much deeper than that.

“The possible locations of this black box are between 2,900 feet and as much as 10,000 feet which is so far below of the potential that these submarines to reach that it really make it difficult for them,” Lebovics said.

He says the search area is rocky and sonar could send back dozens and dozens of false readings.

“Each one of which would have to be independently investigated,” he said.

Lebovics says robotic submarines which are attached by a cord to a ship on the surface can go deeper than a manned sub, but have duration restrictions due to battery power and limited viability.

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