After scouring some 8,200 square kilometers of the search region in the southern Indian Ocean, there are still no clues to the ill-fated plane's whereabouts found by the Texas-based Ocean Infinity company, which contracted with the Malaysian government to search for the wreckage on a "no find, no fee" basis.
Ocean Infinity started the search on January 22 and has 90 days to search for the plane, according to the contract. Malaysia's civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said that the 90 search days will be spread over several months because the search vessel must refuel in Australia and bad weather could also impact the search schedule.
"The whole world, including the next of kin, have [new] hope to find the plane for closure," Rahman recently told reporters, the South China Morning Post reported. "For the aviation world, we want to know what exactly happened to the plane."
The contract stated that the firm would be paid $20 million if the plane's remnants were found in the primary search area, $30 million if the wreckage was found in the secondary zone and $50 million if it was found in the tertiary area. If the wreckage is found outside the three zones, as Airline Ratings has reported that some experts believe it will be, Ocean Infinity would be awarded $70 million. The individual square mileage of each area has not been definitively disclosed by the US-based scavenger company.
The three zones comprise a 25,000-square-kilometer area defined by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) final report on the tragedy as the most-likely area in which the missing aircraft could be found. Officials believe that there is an 85-percent chance of finding debris in the 25,000-square-kilometer area.
On Saturday, family members of those on board the missing flight lit candles in remembrance of the fourth anniversary of the plane's disappearance.
"It doesn't renew [any hope] because I also have to be realistic. It has been four years," said Intan Maizura Othman, whose husband was a flight attendant on the plane.
Flight MH370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014, with 239 people aboard. Debris was collected from Indian Ocean islands and on the east coast of Africa, with at least three pieces confirmed as coming from the missing plane.