Air crews involved in the search for MH370 prepare for an
official photograph on the tarmac at the Royal Australian
Air Force Pearce Base in Bullsbrook, near Perth.
Australia, China and Malaysia have pledged not to give up
searching for a Malaysia Airlines jetliner that disappeared
almost two months ago, despite lingering questions about how to
proceed and who will pay.
No trace of Flight MH370 has been found since it vanished on
a scheduled service from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8,
despite the most intensive search in commercial aviation
With the air and surface search now halted, a new search
phase costing around $A60 million will begin after existing
visual and sonar search data is analysed and a contractor is
found to lease the sophisticated equipment needed, officials
said after meeting in Canberra.
Financial responsibility is a major focus of the talks and
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss seemed to open
the door to manufacturers including Boeing, which produced
the 777-200ER jet, and engine maker Rolls Royce, to
"They also have a vested interest in what happened on MH370
so they can be confident about the quality of their product,
or take remedial action if there was some part of the
aircraft that contributed to this accident," he told
"So, I think we will be looking for increasing involvement
from the manufacturers, and their host countries."
Boeing said it was providing technical expertise to the
"Boeing provides experts who assist on site as well as many
more within the company who, because of the detailed
knowledge of the airplane, its performance and behaviour, are
called upon to contribute," the company said in a statement
e-mailed to Reuters.
Experts have narrowed the search area where the plane is
presumed to have crashed to a large arc of the Indian Ocean
about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) northwest of the west Australian
city of Perth.
Last week, Malaysia released its most comprehensive account
yet of what happened to Flight MH370, detailing the route the
plane probably took as it veered off course and the confusion
The officials have said the focus will be on 60,000 sq km
(24,000 sq mile) of seabed in the Indian Ocean that could
take a year to search.
U.S. President Barack Obama had publicly promised to commit
more assets, but government sources say the United States is
keen to begin passing on the costs of providing the expensive
sonar equipment the officials say they are trying to source.
The United States said over the weekend that it would only
contribute its sophisticated Bluefin-21 underwater drone for
one more month, placing pressure on Australia, China and
Malaysia to find funding for the next phase of the search. A
majority of the 239 people on board were Chinese nationals.
"At the request of the Australian Government, the U.S. Navy
will continue supporting the MH370 sub-surface search effort
with the Bluefin-21 side scan sonar for approximately 4 more
weeks," U.S. Navy Commander William Marks of the 7th Fleet
For now the search is on hold as the Ocean Shield, an
Australian naval vessel carrying the drone, resupplies and
conducts maintenance at a military base in Western Australia.
The officials will meet again in Canberra on Wednesday, they
said, where they will begin thrashing out the details of how
to proceed and who precisely will shoulder the costs of doing