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Private contractor to search for MH370

But three nations leading operation must decide who will foot $70m bill

Published on May 6, 2014 6:49 AM
Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left) speaking to his Chinese counterpart Yang Chuantang in Canberra yesterday. A panel of aviation experts is expected to meet tomorrow to sift through all known data on the MAS plane's flight path and determine the new search area. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The three countries leading the operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft are planning to hire a private contractor to oversee an advanced underwater search involving detailed mapping of the ocean floor, but have yet to agree on who will foot the A$60 million (S$70 million) bill.

The transport ministers of Australia, Malaysia and China met in Canberra yesterday to discuss the next phase of the search in the Indian Ocean following the failure to find MH370 in an initial underwater operation.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister, Mr Warren Truss, said a panel of aviation experts  will meet tomorrow in Canberra to sift through all known data about the Boeing 777's flight path and to determine the new search area.

But he said it could take about two months to deploy the necessary equipment and that an unmanned submarine would continue to operate in the meantime.

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Background story


Much of this area has never been mapped. It will require a significant effort for us to understand the ocean floor in that area… There are only a handful of relevant pieces of machinery in the world… but we know that some countries have oceanographic vessels that are capable of mapping the sea at that depth, and hopefully we will be able to harness some of that equipment.

- Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Warren Truss