As the search for a commercial aircraft that has been missing since March seems to be hopelessly stalled, authorities in the nation closest to where it is believed to have vanished are hoping a private contractor will have success where other entities did not.
According to recent reports, Australian authorities are seeking bids for a team that believes it can recover the Boeing 777 that carried 239 individuals aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 earlier this year. An inability to access radio transmissions and other pertinent data has made finding the plane, which is believed to have gone down in a specific area of the Indian Ocean, even more difficult.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan explained the inherent issues any contractor will experience upon accepting the job.
“This is a very challenging task,” he said, “one that relies on very effectively limited information.”
A qualified team, however, can analyze the existing data and gain “a lot of evidence about the likely location of the aircraft,” he explained.
With officials accepting bids until the end of the month, the search is set to begin in earnest sometime in August. Experts from around the world are currently working to pinpoint the most likely area in which to conduct the recovery mission. The contractor awarded this project will be responsible for searching about 23,000 square miles within 300 days or face possible payment forfeiture.
The area of focus includes part of the Indian Ocean, so remote experts are not even sure how deep the water is. Bidders are being cautioned that they will encounter “holes, trenches, ridges, steep gradients, isolated features,” and other hazards on the ocean floor.
An advertisement for bids did not include specifics regarding which entities involved in the effort will be responsible for paying the winning contractor. According to Australian estimates, however, this phase of the mission is expected to cost $60 million.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom