Published: Fri, October 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Malaysia in deal with USA firm to restart MH370 search

Malaysia in deal with USA firm to restart MH370 search

The plan to resume the search in the Indian Ocean was disclosed in a statement by Darren Chester, Australia's minister for infrastructure and transport.

Malaysia on Friday repudiated previous media reports that it had struck a "no cure no fee" deal with a USA firm to resume the search operation for missing aircraft MH370, saying negotiation work is still ongoing.

Chester said the fresh search for the Boeing 777-200ER 9M-MRO that disappeared enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 2014 carrying 239 passengers and crew would be conducted by US-based Ocean Infinity.

ABC News in a report today stated that the next-of-kin have been notified that the Malaysian government has granted permission to the MH370 response team to begin negotiating terms with Ocean Infinity.

Ocean Infinity has not revealed the estimated cost of a search.

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A tripartite committee of Malaysia, Australia and China made a decision to suspend the search in January and refused to undertake any further operations unless investigators looking into the flight's disappearance had a more precise location.

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

No timeframe for when the search will start was provided, and FlightGlobal was unable to obtain a comment from the Malaysian government on the Ocean Infinity deal. Australia helped lead the hunt for the plane in remote waters west of the country. Their claims were reportedly based on the study of ocean currents at the time of the plane's disappearance and a wing part of the missing flight found in Tanzania in June 2016.

"The underwater search has eliminated most of the high probability areas yielded by reconstructing the aircraft's flight path and the debris drift studies conducted in the past 12 months have identified the most likely area with increasing precision".

Since then, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published two reports prepared by Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO analysing satellite imagery taken some two weeks after the flight went missing.

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