Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared without a trace 121 days ago as of Sunday (July 6), and top Malaysian officials announced that the country is sending “new assets” to help in the next phase of the search for the missing plane. The search will continue forever if that’s what it takes, Malaysia Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein vowed.
Hishammuddin made the announcement Sunday at the opening of a photo exhibition commemorating Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 while en route from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China. The plane, along with its 239 passengers and crew, has not been heard from or detected ever since.
“A total of 121 days have passed but our resolve to find the plane has never been stronger,” the defense minister said, announcing that more ships and equipment from Malaysia would join the search effort when it starts up again in August.
In June, Australia — which is now leading the Flight MH370 search — announced that, starting in August, searchers will scour a whole new area which lies hundreds of miles south of the region on the Indian Ocean where investigators previously believed the Malaysia Airlines flight crashed after making an unexplained turn off of its scheduled route.
A massive multinational search effort combed the previous search area for weeks earlier this year, but turned up exactly nothing despite numerous false alarms.
Officials now say that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 probably came down somewhere in an area about 1,100 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia, nearer to Antarctica than they thought originally.
At the Sunday announcement, Hishammuddin said that the Royal Malaysian Navy will send another ship, the KD Mutiara, into the new search area. That ship comes complete with deep-sea echo sound equipment capable of mapping the ocean floor and detecting possible wreckage of a plane, such as the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 727-200.
Private Malaysian companies will also be providing new sonar equipment to the renewed search effort, as Hishammuddin said that his country will never end the search for the Flight MH370 plane. The disappearance has become one of the most baffling and frustrating mysteries in the history of aviation.
As for who is going to pay for the ongoing Malaysia Airlines search, Hishammuddin said that private companies would pay for the use of their own equipment, while Malaysia, Australia, and China will likely split the costs of future search efforts until the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is finally known, Channel NewsAsia reported.
Malaysia Airlines itself is looking for ways to survive the financial blow it took in the wake of the Flight MH370 disappearance. The company plans major restructuring efforts and could be taken off the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.