Transport ministers from Malaysia, China and Australia have pledged to double the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane if the current search fails to produce results.
The announcement came during a meeting in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, where flight MH370 originated over a year ago.
“In the event that we cannot find the aircraft, the commitment is being made to extend the search over a further 60,000 square kilometres,” Australia’s Minister of Transport Warren Truss told reporters. “That would cover the entire highest probability part of the search area, the places where we believe that the aircraft is most likely to be located.”
No physical evidence of the Boeing 777 has been recovered since it disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route to Beijng with 239 people aboard.
Australia has been leading the underwater search, which has covered close to 40,000 square kilometres of the southern Indian Ocean off Australia’s west coast. The initial search began last year and was scheduled to end in May. Today’s announcement will extend the investigation by up to another 12 months.
During their meeting, the ministers also discussed plans to recover the wreckage if the plane is found.