New MH370 search approved as Malaysia offers $70 million reward

New MH370 search approved as Malaysia offers $70 million reward

A year after the official search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean was called off by Malaysia, Australia and China, the government of Malaysia on Wednesday said that it would pay United States firm Ocean Infinity up to $70 million for finding the wreckage or black boxes of the MH370 flight within 3 months. The agreement was signed by the Malaysian government and Ocean Infinity CEO Oliver Plunkett at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, reported CNN.

"Ocean Infinity will undertake search operation to locate flight MH370 an an area of 25,000 square kilometre". Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200mn ($157mn) search of an area of 120,000 sq km in January previous year, despite investigators urging the search be extended to a 25,000-square-km area further to the north. The amount rises gradually to a maximum of $70 million if the jet is found outside the 25,000 square kilometre search zone. Ocean Infinity's priority is to locate the wreckage or the black box recorders - flight and cockpit recorders - or both, and present credible evidence to confirm their location, Liow added.

On board were 239 people, including 154 Chinese, 50 Malaysians (12 forming the crew), seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four Frenchmen, three Americans, two Canadians, two Iranians, two New Zealanders, two Ukrainians, a Dutch and a Russian.

"As we speak, the vessel Seabed Constructor is on her way to the search area, taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions in the South Indian Ocean", Tiong Lai said, referring to a ship carrying the eight AUVs and operated by Ocean Infinity, a company that specializes in collecting high-resolution geophysical seabed data.


Citing discoveries of debris believed to be from MH370 that swept ashore on Reunion Island, a French territory in the western Indian Ocean in August 2015, and new ocean-current patterns, Plunkett was optimistic that his firm could solve the aviation mystery.

"It is my hope that we will find the answer that we seek for almost four years and bring some closure to this unfortunate incident", he added.

The Texas-based company will receive as much as $70 million if it finds the aircraft, the Malaysian government confirmed this week, and it has just 90 days in which to do so.

"It's a bit hard to come to a closure without knowing what happened to our loved ones".

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