Malaysia in deal with US firm to restart MH370 search

Kuala Lumpur


Malaysia has struck a "no find-no fee" deal with a US company to restart the search for the missing MH370 flight.

The government accepted an offer from Ocean Infinity, said Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester. The Texas-based company will foot the bill if it fails to find the wreckage, the BBC reported.

The Malaysian plane disappeared with 239 people on board on March 8, 2014, around 40 minutes after it took off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing, when someone turned off the communication systems and turned the plane around, according to an official investigation.

In January, Malaysia, Australia and China called off the unsuccessful search covering an area of 120,000 square km at an estimated cost of $135 million.

In July, experts of the Australian agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), narrowed down the search area where the flight might have disappeared to a 25,000 square km stretch of the Indian Ocean.

The scientists traced the aircraft with the help of the ocean drift modelling in the laboratory using the aircraft's possible course, the amount of fuel it was carrying, and a model of the regional marine currents to determine that the plane may have crashed near the degree 35 south of the "seventh arc".

"Seventh arc" is an area in the Indian Ocean already covered by an official search in December 2016.

"No new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft, however data collected during the previous search will be provided," Chester said in the statement.

MH370 debris recovered from the beaches of the French island of Reunion, Mozambique, Mauritius, South Africa and Pemba Island (Tanzania), as confirmed by lab analyses, showed that the plane crashed in the sea and gave rise to new hypotheses about the incident that occurred.

Ocean Infinity claims to have the world's most advanced fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles to survey the seabed and carry out mapping at a depth of up to 6,000 metres. - IANS