Tue, 16 Oct 2018
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Malaysia involves U.S. firm to search for missing MH370

By Sheetal Sukhija, Malaysia News
11 Jan 2018, 18:38 GMT+10

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - On Wednesday, the Malaysian government announced that it had entered a deal with a U.S. company to find the wreckage or black boxes of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. 

The deal entails a pay of up to $70 million, if the company, Ocean Infinity can find the wreckage within three months.

The deal comes as the country is making a renewed bid to solve the plane's disappearance that occurred nearly four years ago on March 8, 2014.

The flight vanished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. 

In a statement, the country’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said there was an 85 percent chance of finding the debris in a new 9,653 square mile area, which is said to be roughly the size of Vermont and has been identified by experts.

The Malaysian government said that it had signed a “no cure, no fee” deal with the Houston, Texas-based Ocean Infinity to restart the hunt for the plane. 

The deal comes a year after the official search by Malaysia, Australia and China in the southern Indian Ocean was called off.

Addressing a news conference, the Transport Minister said, "The primary mission by Ocean Infinity is to identify the location of the wreckage and/or both of the flight recorders ... and present a considerable and credible evidence to confirm the exact location of the two main items.”

According to the terms of the deal, payment will be made based on the size of the area searched but only if the mission is successful within three months. 

Lai added that the government will pay Ocean Infinity $20 million for 1,930 square miles successfully searched, $30 million for 5,790 sq. miles, $50 million for 9,653 sq. miles and $70 million if the plane or recorders are found beyond the identified area.

Further, in a statement, Oliver Plunkett, Chief Executive of Ocean Infinity said the search vessel Seabed Constructor, which left the South African port of Durban last week, is expected to reach the southern Indian Ocean by January 17 to begin the search.

Plunkett added that 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. He added that the underwater drones can cover 463 sq. miles a day and complete the designated search area within a month.

Adding, “We have a realistic prospect of finding it. While there can be no guarantees of locating the aircraft, we believe our system of multiple autonomous vehicles working simultaneously is well suited to the task at hand."

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