Date
24 September 2017
A search patrol vessel scours an area in the Indian Ocean where Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 is believed to have crashed. Photo: AFP
A search patrol vessel scours an area in the Indian Ocean where Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 is believed to have crashed. Photo: AFP

Flight 370 search open to private contractors

Private contractors will be invited to take part in the months-long search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 through a public tender, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Authorities are seeking a single contractor to coordinate an expanded undersea search in the Indian Ocean covering 60,000 square kilometers.

The public tender is expected to take two months to complete.

Private contractors will be free to plan their own strategy to find the plane which went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board. The jetliner was on a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

In April, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the expanded underwater search would cost about A$60 million (US$55 million).

Meanwhile, authorities are tapping a privately owned deep-sea survey vessel to map the ocean floor 1,000 miles northwest of the Western Australia capital Perth where they believe the plane crashed, the report said.

The survey, likely to take two to three months, will enable sonar equipment to be safely deployed to the search area.

The Australian naval vessel Ocean Shield is due to halt the search on Wednesday after scouring a narrow area close to where it detected electronic signals four times in April.

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RA

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