MH370: Australia picks Dutch company for next phase of undersea search

Updated 12:16 AM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014

Story highlights

NEW: Australia says amount of money Malaysia will contribute not yet agreed

Authorities choose the Dutch firm Fugro Survey to carry out the Indian Ocean search

The firm will use two vessels to scour 60,000 square kilometers of ocean floor

MH370 disappeared from radar five months ago; wreckage hasn't been found

CNN —  

Australia said Wednesday that it has chosen a Dutch company to carry out the next phase of the underwater search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which mysteriously disappeared five months ago this week.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss announced at a news conference that Fugro Survey will use two vessels for the search in the southern Indian Ocean, where the Malaysian plane is believed to have gone down after it flew off course and dropped off radar.

The two ships will be equipped with towed deep-water vehicles and will also use side-scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounders and video cameras in the search, Australian authorities said.

Fugro, which has operations in the Western Australian city of Perth, is engaged as a single, private contractor to search for the missing plane – and if it successfully locates it, to positively identify and map the wreckage.

Refined search area for MH370
Joint Agency Coordination Centre (Australia)
Refined search area for MH370

The operation, which is expected to begin in September and last as long as a year, will slowly scan some 60,000 square kilometers (23,000 square miles) of the ocean floor, looking for any sign of aircraft debris.