Families of passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines MH370 jet, which has been missing since March 8, 2014, have urged the Kuala Lumpur authorities to restart the search.
According to CNN, the Malaysian government hired the US seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity in 2018 to search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean, paying up to $70 million if it located the plane.
Nonetheless, its operation fell short.
The business was deployed after Malaysia, China, and Australia called off a two-year, $135 million undersea search in January 2017 after finding no evidence of the jet.
On Sunday, Voice370, a group of relatives of those aboard the plane, said Ocean Infinity hoped to launch a new search as soon as this summer and urged the Malaysian government to accept any proposals from the firm on a conditional fee basis, meaning the firm would only be paid if the search was successful.
“Ocean Infinity, over the last 12 months have made real progress working with many people to further understand… The events in 2014,” CNN quoted Voice370 as saying in a statement, following a memorial event to mark the ninth year since MH370’s disappearance.
“Ultimately, this has greatly improved their chances of conducting a successful search.”
Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke vowed not to “shut the book” on MH370 in a message read out at the memorial event, adding that further searches would be given full attention if there was “fresh and credible evidence” on the aircraft’s likely whereabouts.
Debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has washed up along the African coast and on Indian Ocean islands.
Malaysian investigators have reached no conclusions on what transpired on the flight, but they did not rule out the potential that the plane was purposely diverted off course.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members, vanished on March 8, 2014, on its way from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing.
The crew of the Boeing 777-200ER, registered as 9M-MRO, last communicated with air traffic control (ATC) around 38 minutes after takeoff, while the plane was flying over the South China Sea.
The plane vanished from ATC radar screens minutes later, but it was followed by military radar for another hour, veering westward from its scheduled flight path and crossing the Malay Peninsula and the Andaman Sea.
Until Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, the disappearance of Flight 370 was the deadliest occurrence involving a Boeing 777 and the deadliest in Malaysia Airlines history.