Malaysia Signs Contract with US Firm to Resume Hunt for Jetliner

Malaysia Signs Contract with US Firm to Resume Hunt for Jetliner

Malaysia Signs Contract with US Firm to Resume Hunt for Jetliner

An agreement was reached Wednesday between the Malaysian government and US exploration firm Ocean Infinity to resume searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people - mostly from China - on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, triggering one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries. According to the "no find, no fee" deal, the Malaysian government will pay Ocean Infinity up to $70 million (approximately Rs 465 crore) if it finds the aircraft, but nothing if it does not find it.

The vessel will have 65 crew members, including two government representatives from the Malaysian navy.

Expressing similar sentiments, V. P. R. Nathan, whose wife Anne Daisy was on the aircraft which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, said it was hard to come to terms without knowing what had happened to the families and their flight. Floating debris has been found far from where MH370 is thought to have crashed, but no sign of the main debris field has been found.

He said eight autonomous underwater vehicles, which are drones fitted with high-tech cameras, sonars and sensors, will be dispatched to map the seabed at a faster pace.

The first search attempt, which was conducted by three countries, Australia, Malaysia, and China, was called off in January last year, after three years without bearing fruit.

The agreement with the American firm Ocean Infinity stipulates that a fee will only be paid if the wreckage of the Boeing 777-200 is discovered.

Now a private company, Ocean Infinity, based in Houston, Texas, has offered to take up the search, and Malaysia has agreed. Almost 30 fragments of MH370 have been found, three of which were in the Indian Ocean, including a 2-meter wing section.

The search will focus on an area of the Indian Ocean identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau north of the previously searched area.

"It is our duty to look for answers and the plane, and as of today the government has made a decision to go ahead with the search", he told The Malaysian Insighter.

Australia, China, and Malaysia ended a fruitless $200 million search nearly a year ago after 1,046 days of hunting.

He said there is an 85 per cent chance that the wreckage would be found within the new search area. Before vanishing in the Indian Ocean, it was last detected over northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Their daughter had planned to celebrate her fifth birthday on March 14, 2014 with her father, but he never returned.

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