In January this year, Texas-based Ocean Infinity began a new search for Malaysia Airlines’ missing flight MH370 a year after the original search had been called off.
Ocean Infinity had been working on a ‘no cure no deal’ basis and had originally intended to perform the search for 90 days, ending in April. However, they made two successful requests for extensions of the agreement, which will finally come to an end at the end of May this year.
Malaysia’s transport minister, Anthony Loke confirmed that: “There will be no more extensions. It cannot continue forever. Let’s wait until May 29 and we will then decide how to proceed.” The initial deal was for the Malaysian government to pay Ocean Infinity up to US$70 million based on the size of the area searched if the mission was successful within three months. Officials felt there was an 85 percent chance of finding debris in a new 25,000-square-kilometer (9,650-square-mile) search area which had been identified by experts.
There have been fears of “possible falsification” or the extraction/omission of maintenance records which may have hampered the initial search for the missing jet. However, Loke has indicated that the new government, which took power after the May 9 elections, is committed to transparency and will release details for public scrutiny at some point in the near future.
Theories that either the pilot or co-pilot deliberately downed the jet have been gathering momentum; fears the flight disappeared as the result of a “rogue pilot” appeared almost immediately, and Malaysian officials believed the disappearance was the result of a “deliberate act.”