Crowdsourcing search for missing plane is overloaded

This picture taken aboard a Vietnamese Air Force's Russian-made MI-171 helicopter shows a crew member (C) looking out of a door
This picture taken aboard a Vietnamese Air Force's Russian-made MI-171 helicopter shows a crew member (C) looking out of a door out as a reporter (R) films during a search flight some 200 km over the southern Vietnamese waters on March 11, 2014

A crowdsourcing effort to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines plane using satellite imagery overloaded the computer network with an "unprecedented" amount of traffic, the technology company said Tuesday.

The satellite firm DigitalGlobe posted a message on its website saying the system was down.

"We are working to best handle an unprecedented level of Web traffic and interest in supporting the search," the company said.

"Please check back soon. We have new imagery collections planned for today and hope to make those images available online for the crowd as soon as possible."

DigitalGlobal activated its platform Monday in an effort to locate the Boeing 777 that mysteriously disappeared Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.

The company invited volunteers to comb through images from its Tomnod platform of for clues that may help locate the aircraft.

DigitalGlobe says it operates "the world's most advanced constellation of commercial imaging satellites" and that after the plane went missing, it activated its emergency system.

Two of the company's satellites collected imagery Sunday of the area where evidence suggested the aircraft may have crashed into the water—where the Gulf of Thailand meets the South China Sea.

The DigitalGlobe website posted comments from people offering to help and those frustrated when the system went down.

Several comments said simply "count me in," while one visitor wrote: "I am a former Navy patrol plane commander. I believe I can tell aircraft debris when I see it."


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More information: www.tomnod.com/nod/challenge/malaysiaairsar2014

© 2014 AFP

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