US firm says it will keep searching for MH370

Reuters
A US seabed exploration firm has offered to take on the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, families of passengers and a Malaysian government minister said yesterday.
Reuters

A US seabed exploration firm has offered to take on the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, families of passengers and a Malaysian government minister said yesterday. 

In one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries, the Boeing 777 disappeared in 2014 en route to Beijing from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur with 239 people aboard. Analysis of radar and satellite contacts suggested someone on board may have deliberately switched off the plane’s transponder before diverting it thousands of kilometers out over the Indian Ocean.

Australia, Malaysia and China called off a A$200 million (US$159 million), two-year search for the plane in January, amid protests from families of those on board.

Grace Nathan, a Malaysian lawyer whose mother Anne Daisy was on the plane, told reporters the US company, Ocean Infinity, had offered to resume the search for free, and had asked for a reward only in the event that the aircraft was found.

Deputy Malaysian Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi confirmed that authorities had received the offer, but said no decision had been made on whether it would be accepted.

The company, on its website, said it had the world’s most advanced fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles.

Last year, Australia and Malaysia rejected investigators’ recommendations to extend the hunt by 25,000 square kilometers north of the original search area in the southern Indian Ocean, saying the new location identified was too imprecise.

But Voice370, a support group for MH370 passengers’ next-of-kin, said Australian researchers had recently narrowed the likely search field to less than that after extensive modeling and review.

The families, who launched a campaign to privately fund their own search in March, said they had suspended their plans, hoping the governments involved “would respond favorably and expeditiously” to Ocean Infinity’s offer.

“In light of the narrowed search area and free of cost willing search party, the lack of communications from governments involved is very distressing for family members whose agony festers,” Voice370 said in a statement.

Since the plane went missing, there have been competing theories over whether it was hijacked or whether it was under anyone’s control when it finally ran out of fuel.

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