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US company to restart MH370 search

BBC News logo BBC News 20/10/2017

Malaysia has struck a "no find-no fee" deal with a US company to locate the wreckage of downed flight MH370.

The government accepted an offer from Ocean Infinity, according to Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester.

The Texas-based company will foot the bill if it fails to find the wreckage.

The disappearance of MH370 remains shrouded in mystery. The Malaysia Airlines flight fell off radar on 8 March 2014, between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, with 239 people on board.

A massive maritime search operation for the plane cleared 120,000 sq km at an estimated cost of about $200m, before it was suspended in January.

A file picture dated 17 July 2016 shows a passenger walking past a Malaysia Airlines aircraft within a viewing gallery of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.: The search for the Malaysia Airlines plane was suspended in January © EPA The search for the Malaysia Airlines plane was suspended in January Military officer looks out a window during a search and rescue mission onboard an aircraft belonging to the Vietnamese airforce off Vietnam"s Tho Chu island March 10, 2014.: A military officer looks for wreckage of MH370 during the initial search © Reuters A military officer looks for wreckage of MH370 during the initial search

Ocean Infinity has not revealed the estimated cost of the new search. According to Mr Chester, the company will focus on a 25,000 sq km area identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau as having a "high probability" of containing the aircraft.

Australia has agreed to provide technical assistance at the request of the Malaysian government, Mr Chester said.

MH370 was carrying passengers and crew from 14 different countries when it disappeared. Most were from China and Malaysia.

Australia led the initial search, after aviation officials identified the ocean floor off its coast as the likely location of the wreckage.

Earlier this month, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the government had received proposals from three private search firms - Ocean Infinity, Dutch firm Fugro and an unidentified Malaysian company.

Delivering its report into the disappearance earlier this month, Australia's Transport Safety Bureau said it was "almost inconceivable" that the aircraft had not been found.

Related: The mystery of MH370: Timeline

The mystery of MH370: Timeline

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