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Malaysia approves new search for MH370

11 January 2018 10:26 PM
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Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's government says it has approved a new attempt by a private company to find the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, nearly four years after its disappearance sparked one of aviation's biggest mysteries.

The Houston, Texas-based company Ocean Infinity dispatched a search vessel this past week to look in the southern Indian Ocean for debris from the plane, which disappeared March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

Malaysia has signed a deal with Houston-based private firm Ocean Infinity to pay it up to US$70 million if it can find missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 within 90 days. The jet went down in the Indian Ocean in 2014 and disappeared along with all 239 people on board.

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Malaysia has signed a deal with Houston-based private firm Ocean Infinity to pay it up to US$70 million if it can find missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 within 90 days. The jet went down in the Indian Ocean in 2014 and disappeared along with all 239 people on board.

The governments of Malaysia, China and Australia called off the nearly three- year official search last January. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's final report on the search conceded that authorities were no closer to knowing the reasons for the Boeing 777's disappearance, or its exact location.

"The basis of the offer from Ocean Infinity is based on 'no cure, no fee,"' Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Saturday, meaning that payment will be made only if the company finds the wreckage.

"That means they are willing to search the area of 25,000 square kilometres pointed out by the expert group near the Australian waters," he said.

However, he said, "I don't want to give too much hope ... to the [next of kin]." He said his government was committed to continuing with the search.

Ocean Infinity said in a statement that the search vessel Seabed Constructor, which left the South African port of Durban on Tuesday, was taking advantage of favourable weather to move toward "the vicinity of the possible search zone."

In the initial search for the plane, a 52-day surface search covered an area of several million square kilometres in the Indian Ocean west of Australia, before an underwater search mapped 710,000 square kilometres of seabed at depths of up to 6,000 metres . They were the largest aviation searches of their kind in history, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Despite other methods such as studying satellite imagery and investigating ocean drifts after debris from the plane washed ashore on islands in the eastern Indian Ocean and the east coast of Africa, the 1,046-day search was called off on January 17, 2017.

However, the ATSB's report said the understanding of where the plane may be is "better now than it has ever been," partly as a result of studying debris that washed ashore in 2015 and 2016 that showed the plane was "not configured for a ditching at the end-of-flight," meaning it had run out of fuel.

Source: theage.com.au

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