Fri | Jun 22, 2018

Malaysia OKs new search by private company for missing plane

Published:Sunday | January 7, 2018 | 11:03 PM

Malaysia's government said Saturday that it has approved a new attempt by a private company to find the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, nearly four years after its disappearance sparked one of aviation's biggest mysteries.

The Houston, Texas-based company Ocean Infinity, dispatched a search vessel this past week to look in the southern Indian Ocean for debris from the plane, which disappeared March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

The governments of Malaysia, China and Australia called off the nearly three-year official search last January. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's final report on the search conceded that authorities were no closer to knowing the reasons for the Boeing 777's disappearance, or its exact location.

"The basis of the offer from Ocean Infinity is based on 'no cure, no fee,'" Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Saturday, meaning that payment will be made only if the company finds the wreckage.

STAYING COMMITTED

"That means they are willing to search the area of 25,000 square kilometres (9,653 square miles) pointed out by the expert group near the Australian waters," he said.

However, he said, "I don't want to give too much hope ... to the (next of kin)." He said his government was committed to continuing with the search.

He did not offer other details.

Ocean Infinity said in a statement that the search vessel Seabed Constructor, which left the South African port of Durban on Tuesday, was taking advantage of favourable weather to move toward "the vicinity of the possible search zone."

AP