It’s still utterly incomprehensible to many as to how a plane as large as a Boeing 777 could simply fly off into the night and never be seen again.
Search teams have been making every effort to locate Malaysia Airlines’ missing aircraft after it disappeared with 239 passengers and crew during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
With the relatives of those on board MH370 still desperate to know what happened on that fateful flight more than three years ago, and an entire industry equally keen for answers to this enduring mystery, the Malaysian government is now talking to a U.S. firm about the possibility of a new search effort that could work on a “no find, no fee” basis.
The government confirmed in recent days that it’s in discussions with Ocean Infinity, a seabed exploration firm based in Houston, Texas. If it gets the green light, Ocean Infinity could bear the cost of the search effort and only receive payment if it locates the missing aircraft.
Operating from its main multi-purpose ship, Ocean Infinity uses a range of autonomous vehicles to conduct its searches, including six underwater machines that are able to operate at a depth of 6,000 meters while collecting high-definition imagery from even deeper. Six unmanned surface vehicles work with the submersibles to ensure precise positioning and constant communication, the company explains on its website.
Searching for a missing plane would be a first for Ocean Infinity, but it has growing experience using its deep-sea technology for operations such as seabed mapping and imaging, marine geological surveys, and environmental monitoring.
With costs spiraling, a lengthy multi-national search effort covering nearly 50,000 square miles of the southern Indian Ocean was called off at the start of this year.
It’s believed that a future search, possibly to be conducted by Ocean Infinity, will center on an area of interest of around 10,000 square miles identified by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said offers a “high probability” of revealing the missing plane.
The Malaysian government said it had received “several” proposals from private firms interested in resuming the search for the missing plane, and that having assessed the inquiries it is now “negotiating the terms and conditions with Ocean Infinity.”
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