Malaysia inks ‘no find, no fee’ deal with US firm to locate MH370

World Today

Malaysia’s government offers a U.S. based company new motivation to find missing Malaysia Airlines Flight-370 quickly: money.

Ocean Infinity could earn up to $70 million, but only if it can locate MH370’s wreckage or black boxes within three months. The plane was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March 2014. It’s a task that’s eluded many and made it one of aviation’s biggest mysteries.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman explains this high-risk, high-reward challenge.

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March 2014 has become one of the world’s most baffling aviation mysteries. The plane was bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur but changed course and lost contact with air traffic control.

Authorities believe MH370 crashed after running out of fuel over the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia.

U.S. based firm Ocean Infinity’s vessel is expected to reach the southern Indian Ocean by Jan. 17, 2017. The sea-bed exploration company will perform a private search for the airliner in a 25,000-square-kilometre (9,700-square-mile) expanse identified by a panel of experts.

In the years since, search crews have used planes, boats and underwater vehicles in hopes of locating the wreckage. Floating debris has been found far from where MH370 is thought to have crashed, but no sign of the main debris field has been found.

Australia, China, and Malaysia ended a fruitless $200 million search almost a year ago after 1,046 days of hunting. The final report showed authorities were unable to conclude why the plane disappeared or determine its exact location.

Now an American firm will begin a new search on a “No find, no fee” basis – if they don’t find the plane they don’t get paid. Ocean Infinity will use this ship and autonomous underwater vehicles, UAVs, for the search.

If the debris field and flight data recorders are recovered from the initial search area within 90 days, Malaysia’s government will pay out $70 million. The company believes their technology will allow them to succeed where previous operations failed.

Most of the 239 aboard MH370 when it disappeared were from China. It’s presumed they all died in the crash. Their families are hopeful that this new search will give them the answers they want, but are wary of reliving the agony of earlier failed searches.

The key items for the Texas-based firm to recover are the flight data and cockpit voice recorders. Authorities hope those recorders contain the answers that will finally end the mystery of flight.