Malaysian government decides to restart search for a plane that mysteriously disappeared
The government of Malaysia has announced a US exploration firm will resume the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 aircraft.
Carrying 239 on board, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014.
At a signing ceremony between Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport and Ocean Infinity, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that the search will be within an area of 25,000 square kilometres and over 90 days.
According to the agreement between the two sides, the payment to Ocean Infinity will be subject to the area where the wreckage is located. A total of $20 million will be paid if the plane is found within the first 5,000 square kilometres searched.
The payment reaches $30 million for the subsequent 10,000 and $50 million for another 10,000 square kilometres. If the plane is found beyond the 25,000 square kilometres area recommended by investigators from Australia, the Malaysian government has agreed to pay $70 million.
“It cannot take forever. We cannot drag it into another six months or another one year. So the offer is only for 90 days and we’ll continue the search within the 25,000 square kilometres’ area or beyond. We leave it to Ocean Infinity,” said Liow.
Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity, said the search vessel is equipped with eight underwater autonomous vehicles packed with sensors, detectors and cameras, which will largely improve the efficiency of the search operation.
“We can roughly cover 12 hundred square kilometers a day, which means we’ll finish the first 25,000 within the first three or four weeks of the search, that means we have roughly another 60 days that if we haven’t found it, we can carry on looking,” said Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity.
At present, a vessel for this operation is on its way to the search area from South Africa’s Port of Durban. It is expected to arrive at the search zone by mid-January and start the search.
The new search area is said to be just north of a previous area covering an area of 120,000 square kilometres, which was searched by the governments of Malaysia, China and Australia but they found nothing. The three countries agreed to suspend their underwater search on 17 January 2017.