Malaysia to Pay up to $70 Mln if MH370 is Found

Malaysia to Pay up to $70 Mln if MH370 is Found

Oliver Plunkett, the Malaysian government and Ocean Infinity CEO participated in the signing of the deal and that took place at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday which attracted the attendance of quite a significant number of those who lost their loved ones in the crash.

A year after the official search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean was called off by Malaysia, Australia and China, the government of Malaysia on Wednesday said that it would pay United States firm Ocean Infinity up to $70 million for finding the wreckage or black boxes of the MH370 flight within 3 months.

A person familiar with the matter said, "If the debris field, cockpit voice recorder or flight recorder are discovered within the first 5,000 sq km (1930 sq mi) searched, Ocean Infinity will command a fee of $20 million, rising to $70 million if any of those items are found outside the initial 25,000 sq km area".

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 official investigation. The new search zone is an area of approximately 25,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean, the report said.

Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200-million ($157 million) search of a 120,000 sq.km area in January previous year, despite investigators urging the search be extended to a 25,000-square-km area further to the north.

They also extended their appreciation to Ocean Infinity's search on a "no cure, no fee" basis, which means that payment will only be made when the debris of the missing jetliner is found and confirmed by a third party.

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"They can not take forever or drag it on for another six months or a year".

In order to find the remnants of the flight, 8 autonomous underwater vehicles, consisting of drones equipped with high-tech sonars and sensors would be dispatched into the water to map the seabed.

On board were 239 people, including 154 Chinese, 50 Malaysians (12 forming the crew), seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four Frenchmen, three Americans, two Canadians, two Iranians, two New Zealanders, two Ukrainians, a Dutch and a Russian.

"It was a unique problem that required a unique solution".

The company's shareholders would bear the upfront costs of the search, Plunkett added.

Relatives and friends of those on board, as well as the aviation industry itself, are desperate for answers, but the events of that fateful night remain a mystery. There have been competing theories that the aircraft suffered mechanical failure or was intentionally flown off course.

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