MH370 search to resume in two weeks; Australia, Malaysia to share cost

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott after a joint press conference at the prime minister's office in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, Sept 6, 2014. The search for Mal
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott after a joint press conference at the prime minister's office in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, Sept 6, 2014. The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will resume in about two weeks, with Australia and Malaysia splitting the cost to the tune of A$60 million each (S$71 million), Mr Abbott said. -- PHOTO: AFP

PUTRAJAYA - The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will resume in about two weeks, with Australia and Malaysia splitting the cost to the tune of A$60 million each (S$71 million), Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Saturday.

"It will commence in about a fortnight's time with the best available technology and continue until all humanly possible efforts are taken to scour the zone," Abbott said during a one-day visit to Kuala Lumpur.

The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board disappeared on March 8 while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean. A massive international air, sea and underwater search, led by Australia, failed to find any wreckage.

The search was suspended in late May as experts pored over data while assets for deep-water scanning of the southern Indian Ocean were acquired. 

The hunt for MH370 had cost Malaysia RM28 million (S$11 million) up to June, while Australia has set aside a total of A$90 million to find the jet.

The second phase of the search will include mapping the seabed of a new zone further south from the area scoured earlier, as the hunt narrows down to 60,000 square kilometres from an area that was at one point over 100 times the size.

On Saturday, Abbott met his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak and the Malaysian teams working on the losses of MH370 and MH17. The latter was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, killing all 289 onboard.

Abbott said Australia would consider building a monument for MH370 victims on its western coast but it would be guided by "the wishes of Malaysia and the wishes of the families of those who were lost."

shannont@sph.com.sg