No Malaysia Airlines debris found, search for jet expanded

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According to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the chance of finding floating debris from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has become highly unlikely, and a new phase of the search will focus on a far larger area of the Indian Ocean floor.

Reuters reports, "The search effort for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, has so far failed to turn up any trace of wreckage from the plane.

"Malaysia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Britain and the United States are assisting Australia in conducting the most expensive search in aviation history.

"Authorities had been focusing on a 10 square km (6.2 square mile) stretch of seabed about 2,000 miles from Perth, after detecting what they suspected was a signal from the plane's black box recorder on April 4.

"Abbott said that the new search area, which spans 700 km by 80 km (435 miles by 40 miles), could take between 6-8 months to completely examine, at a cost to Australia of as much as A$60 million ($55.69 million).

"The search operations have up until now been handled primarily as a military operation by the countries involved, but Abbott said that one or more commercial companies would be hired by Australia and Malaysia to handle the next phase."

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