Santa Barbara- S County

Malaysian Plane Mystery Followed Closely by Santa Barbara City College Diving Program

Student divers study day to day efforts to find missing jetliner

SBCC Marine Divers

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - While the world awaits the daily update on the Malaysian Airlines mystery students at Santa Barbara City College in the Marine Diving Technology labs, watch carefully how the search is conducted.

Some of the same procedures taking place in the Indian Ocean are discussed in their classes.

Students in the program learn proper procedures for diving in  full underwater gear, and also the use of remote operating vehicles or an ROV.

The students said it appeared every available search tool is being used.  That included satellites, aircraft, boats, and underwater listening devices.   Time, however, is running out to hear the "ping" from the airplane's black boxes.   The sound could go quiet in a few days when the battery dies.

"I am really interested," said student Will Constable. "Amongst the junk in the Indian Ocean and the depths it is going to be a tough task."

The students are watching how the search crews are overcoming the obstacles including the weather and the unclear location for the search.

"We definitely keep up in class and it kind of applies to some of the things we could get into," said student Chris Duncan.

Instructor Dan Vasey said, "It's the same technology whether we use it for construction purposes or for search purposes like this."

If the plane is located, there could still be a fuselage or possibly a wide debris field.

But it will all be on the ocean floor.

"We can use side scan sonar, different sonar techniques and that's your best techniques to side swath the bottom," said Vasey.

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