New MH370 Search Approved as Malaysia Offers $70 Million Reward

New MH370 Search Approved as Malaysia Offers $70 Million Reward

Kerry Wise
January 11, 2018

Malaysia's government has offered a US company $70 million if it can find missing flight MH370 or its black boxes, in a renewed bid to solve the plane's disappearance almost four years ago.

Norwegian research vessel Seabed Constructor, which is being leased by Ocean Infinity for the hunt, has set off from South Africa and is aiming to arrive in the search area by Jan 17, the firm's CEO Oliver Plunkett told reporters.

The Beijing-bound MH370 disappeared from the radar on March 8, 2014, some 40 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, reportedly after someone deliberately turned off its communication system and changed the route, according to an official investigation. The official search in the southern Indian Ocean was called off previous year. The government is pledging $20 million if the aircraft or both flight recorders are found within 5,000 square kilometers of the primary search area, with the reward topping off at $70 million if it's found in a search area exceeding 25,000 square kilometers. Systems created to automatically transmit the flight's position failed to work after this point, the report said.

The payment for the search will be borne by the Malaysian government.

"We came to the conclusion that it is important for us to continue this mission to finally find some answers and closure", he said.

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After almost three years of combing 120,000 sq km of ocean floor without success, the Malaysian, Chinese and Australian governments in January last year chose to suspend the search until "credible new information" becomes available.

A fresh search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is expected to begin soon, spearheaded by a private United States-based company. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's final report on the search conceded that authorities were no closer to knowing the reasons for the Boeing 777's disappearance, or its exact location.

Only three fragments of MH370 have been found on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon.

Malaysian Minister of Transport, Liow Tiong Lai, center, speaks during the signing ceremony of the MH370 missing plane search operations between Malaysian government and Ocean Infinity Limited in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The search operation became the costliest in aviation history.