Make Or Break Search For MH370

Wreckage unlikely to solve MH30 mystery says expert

Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200 million ($157 million) search of a 120,000 sq km area in January previous year, despite investigators urging the search be extended to a 25,000 sq km area further to the north. The private company, Ocean Infinity, based in Texas, has signed a speculative "no-find, no-fee" contract for 90 days that has the potential to reward the research company up to $70 million on a graduated fee scale based upon search results and the amount of area covered within the allotted time.

"I would like to reiterate our unwavering commitment towards solving the mystery of MH370", Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Wednesday at a signing ceremony for the deal.

The Beijing-bound MH370 disappeared from the radar on March 8, 2014, some 40 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, reportedly after someone deliberately turned off its communication system and changed the route, according to official investigation.

The new search zone is an area of approximately 25,000 square kilometres in the Indian Ocean.

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But three firms submitted bids to resume the hunt privately and after lengthy negotiations, the Malaysian government agreed to engage Ocean Infinity on a "no find, no fee" basis.

Ocean Infinity will be paid $20 million if the plane is found within 5,000 sq km, $30 million if it is found within 10,000 square km and $50 million if it is found within an area of 25,000 square km.

"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", he told a news conference. "They can not take forever or drag it on for another six months or a year".

It's the first time the company has taken on such a project, but its experience using deep-sea technology for seabed mapping and imaging, marine geological surveys, and environmental monitoring stands it in good stead. Plunkett estimated that the underwater drones can cover an area of 1,200 square kms in a day, and complete 25,000 square kilometres target within a month.

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"We have a realistic prospect of finding it", he said.

Investigators believe MH370 headed south over the Indian Ocean for about six hours before plummeting into the water.

At least three pieces of debris collected from sites on Indian Ocean islands and along Africa's east coast have been confirmed as being from the missing plane. Despite an extensive and costly search effort covering vast parts of the southern Indian Ocean, the aircraft and its 239 crew and passengers have yet to be found.

Debris from MH370 could provide clues to events on board before the crash.

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