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Firm to receive up to $70 mn if MH370 found in new hunt

AFP  |  Kuala Lumpur 

signed a deal with an American firm today to resume the search for MH370 almost four years after the plane disappeared, with the company to receive up to $70 million if successful.

The new hunt, which will last 90 days, is expected to start in mid-January when a leased by the seabed exploration firm, Ocean Infinity, reaches a new search zone in the

The Airlines jet disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people -- mostly from -- on board en route from to Beijing, triggering one of the world's greatest mysteries.

No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000 square kilometre selected by of the jet's likely trajectory.

The Australian-led sea search, the largest in history, was suspended in January last year.

But three firms submitted bids to resume the hunt privately and after lengthy negotiations, the Malaysian agreed to engage on a "no find, no fee" basis.

"I would like to reiterate our unwavering commitment towards solving the mystery of MH370," Liow Tiong Lai said today at a signing ceremony for the deal.

The new is an area of approximately 25,000 square kilometres in the

If the company finds 777, the amount they are paid will depend on where it was located, said Liow.

If it is found within the first 5,000 square kilometres, they will receive $20 million. The amount rises gradually to a maximum of $70 million if the jet is found outside the 25,000 square kilometre

Relatives of MH370 passengers welcomed the decision.

"We are grateful the Malaysian is resuming the search for MH370," R. Nathan, whose wife was on the plane, told AFP.

"We do not know what happened, we need to know what happened before we can get closure."

The ship that will conduct the hunt is a Norwegian research vessel named Seabed Constructor, which is carrying 65 crew members and set off from in early January for the

It is carrying eight autonomous drones, equipped with sonars and cameras, that will scour the waters in the hunt for the wreckage and can operate in depths up to 6,000 metres.

Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western shores, including a two- metre wing part known as a flaperon.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 10 2018. 20:35 IST