Malaysia to pay U.S. firm to find plane in 90 days

Posted January 13, 2018

Malaysia signed a deal on Wednesday to pay a USA seabed exploration firm up to $50 million if it finds the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft MH370 in a new search area in the Southern Indian ocean.

According to the terms of the "no cure, no fee" search contract between the Malaysian Government and Ocean Infinity, the company will not be paid unless they find the plane's wreckage.

The majority of the plane's passengers were Chinese citizens, though 50 - including the flight's 12 crew members - were Malaysian.

He said the primary mission by the U.S. exploration firm is to identify the location of the wreckage and or both of the flight recorders, namely the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR).

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It is where debris is likely to have drifted in the two weeks after MH370 was lost if the aircraft had hit the water close to the seventh arc around latitude 35°S.

The vessel comes with eight autonomous submarines, called HUGINS, which can go as deep as 5,600m.

Malaysia, Australian and the Chinese government had unanimously agreed and ended the search of MH370 in January previous year.

Malaysia will pay the company up to 70 million dollars if the airplane is found within 90 days.

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Charitha Pattiaratchi, professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia, told 9News that the survey systems used by Texas-based Ocean Infinity from its Seabed Constructor vessel would cover 100,000sqkm in just 90 days.

"Based on experts' view there is 85 percent probability of finding the wreckage at the new area", Liow said. Search operations concentrated in the southern Indian Ocean, but the aircraft was not found.

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.

The initial search carried out by Australia, China and Malaysia, was one of the largest such operations ever, covering 120,000 sq km and costing around $157 million.

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The payment will be borne by the Malaysian government. Ocean Infinity's ship is equipped with eight unmanned submarines that scan the ocean floor at depths of almost 20,000 feet. Malaysian investigators formed a strong suspicion that the plane's 53-year-old captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had deliberately disabled it and taken the plane off its route to Beijing, turning back across the Malaysian peninsula and heading out across the Indian Ocean. Search for the aircraft, which disappeared March 8, 2014, is set to resume soon.