- One key part of the phase will be detailed ocean floor mapping
- The next phase is estimated to cost $60 million
More than 300 flights.
Over 3,000 hours in the air.
A staggering 4 million square kilometers of ocean.
The numbers speak to the breadth of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The results speak to the fruitlessness of it.
The plane, carrying 239 people, disappeared on March 8. And despite an expansive international search, officials have nothing to show for it.
On Wednesday, officials from Australia, Malaysia and China will meet in Canberra to consider the next phase of the hunt.
One group will analyze the data and information collected so far. Another will look at the resources needed.
Because the focus of the next phase will be an intense underwater search, a key element of the new phase will be a detailed mapping of the ocean floor.
"We know that the water is very deep. And for the next stage .... we need to have an understanding of the ocean floor," said Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on Monday.
"This gives an opportunity to those not involved in the early phase of the search and rescue efforts to come on board," said Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.