Search for missing MH370 may end next year

Fugro Equator
The Fugro Equator will be dispatched to help hunt down flight MH370 (source: Fugro). (The Fugro Equator was dispatched to help hunt down flight MH370 (source: Fugro))

With additional reporting by Zack Newmark.

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will not continue indefinitely without new evidence, Australian media reported earlier today. Several ships, including at least two vessels from the Dutch company Fugro, are in search for the aircraft, which has thus far found no trace of the lost Boeing 777.

As it stands, the underwater search will be called off within the next year, unless a definitive reason to continue the search is discovered. The mission to find the missing aircraft is ongoing in an area of over 120 thousand square kilometers off western Australia.

"In the absence of credible new information that leads to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, governments have agreed that there will be no further expansion of the search area," Australian officials said in a statement. Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said the search could not continue forever.

Australia and Malaysia are sharing the costs of the search. Each country spent around 85 million euros on the search operation.

The search is now becoming more difficult because of the upcoming winter. Bad weather and regular storms impede the usage of the underwater equipment necessary to scan the bottom of the ocean.

The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared over a year ago. There were 239 people on board of the aircraft, including Amsterdam resident Surti Dahlia. The aircraft vanished from radar during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It is still unclear what happened to the plane.