Search for missing MH370 to resume

Malaysian authorities will team up with an American robotics firm to find the doomed airliner, a government minister has said

Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke has promised that the search for the remains of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 will resume “as soon as possible.” The Boeing 777 disappeared from radar screens in 2014, and is presumed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Speaking at a commemoration event in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Loke told relatives of the 239 passengers and crew who vanished that the Malaysian government remains “committed to finding this plane.”

“As I stand before you, and make this promise, I will do everything possible to gain evidence, to sign a new contract with Ocean Infinity for the search to resume as soon as possible,” Loke said, according to the Malay Mail. 

Ocean Infinity is a Texas-based marine robotics firm that scoured the Indian Ocean for traces of the jet in 2018. Nothing was found and the mission was called off after six months. Ocean Infinity CEO Oliver Plunkett announced last year that the company had found new evidence pointing to a potential crash site, and said that he had petitioned the Malaysian government for permission to carry out a fresh search.

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Loke said on Sunday that he had instructed officials to meet with Ocean Infinity to discuss a “no find, no fee proposal” by the company.

“Even though it is ‘no find, no fee’, we anticipate that if we start going into a contract with Ocean Infinity we hope that the plane is found,” he said.

MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, when it lost contact with air traffic control over the South China Sea. The plane disappeared from secondary radar screens – which display an aircraft’s location and transponder data – but was tracked by the Malaysian military’s primary radar for another hour, which showed it banking sharply to the west and flying back over the Malay Peninsula toward the Andaman sea.

As MH370 continued flying for another six hours, its disabled satellite data unit made repeated attempts to log on to a telecommunications network operated by British firm Inmarsat. A team of international investigators led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau could deduce the plane’s rough flight path from the time taken for these signals to travel from plane to satellite, and concluded that it more than likely flew into the southern Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel.

READ MORE: Debris found in Mozambique ‘almost certainly’ from MH370 – Aussie authorities

Malaysian police later found that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had practiced flying a Boeing 777 deep into the Indian Ocean on a simulator before the disappearance. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Sky News in 2020 that “from very, very, very early on, [the Malaysian government] thought it was murder-suicide by the pilot.”

In the years since the disappearance of MH370, suspected debris from the jet has washed ashore in South Africa, Mozambique, Mauritius, and the French territory of Reunion. 

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