World News

New MH370 Search Approved as Malaysia Offers $70 Million Reward

New MH370 Search Approved as Malaysia Offers $70 Million Reward

A USA company has signed a "no win, no fee" deal with the Malaysian government to try and locate the wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

"The company should also be able to present a considerable and credible evidence to confirm the exact location of the two main items", he said at the MH370 search operations signing ceremony between the Malaysian government and U.S. firm Ocean Infinity Limited here.

Ocean Infinity Chief Executive Oliver Plunkett said the search vessel Seabed Constuctor, which left the South African port of Durban last week, is expected to reach the southern Indian Ocean by January 17 to begin the hunt.

The disappearance of the aircraft en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 with 239 people aboard ranks among the world's greatest aviation mysteries.

The governments of Malaysia, Australia and China called off the search in January last year despite protests from the passengers' families, after the A$200 million (S$213 million) hunt which was carried out for more than two years failed to bear fruit.

Under the agreement it must do so within 90 days of embarking on a new search in the Southern Indian ocean.

The vessel will have 65 crew, including two government representatives drawn from the Malaysian navy.

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The previous search effort and the wreckage found have allowed researchers to revise their assessments on the search area, underpinning Ocean Infinity's confidence in finding the aircraft, CEO Oliver Plunkett said.

He said the primary mission by the United States 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).

The conditions of the reward are US$20 million (RM82 million) for the 5,000 square kilometres primary search area, US$30 million (RM122 million) for the subsequent 10,000 square kilometre secondary search area, US$50 million (RM205 million) for the subsequent 10,000 square kilometre tertiary search area, and US$70 million (RM285 million) for any additional supplementary search areas beyond 25,000 square kilometres.

Ocean Infinity's vessel carries eight autonomous underwater vehicles that will scour the seabed with scanning equipment for information to be sent back for analysis.

Debris from MH370 could provide clues to events on board before the crash. There have been competing theories that it suffered mechanical failure or was intentionally flown off course.

Investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off the plane's transponder before diverting it thousands of kilometers out over the Indian Ocean.

Several pieces of debris confirmed to have been from the missing aircraft have been found by members of the public on the African coast and islands in the Indian Ocean.