MH370: Officials discuss next phase of search

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  • 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.

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    • Caption:A Chinese relative of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 uses a lighter as she prays at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 8, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris. AFP PHOTO/WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

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Credit: 	CNN

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    • INDIAN OCEAN (April 14, 2014) -- Operators aboard ADF Ocean Shield move U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, April 14. Using side scan sonar, the Bluefin will descend to a depth of between 4,000 and 4,500 meters, approximately 35 meters above the ocean floor. It will spend up to 16 hours at this depth collecting data, before potentially moving to other likely search areas. Joint Task Force 658 is currently supporting Operation Southern Indian Ocean, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/RELEASED)

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