Malaysia has spent $8.6 million so far on the massive international search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, officials said Monday, the first time they’ve cited a specific cost for the hunt.
That figure applies only to Malaysian agencies, Department of Civil Aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told a news conference, and “we do not know how much other countries spent,” Reuters reports.
The search for the missing plane, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board, has long since become the most expensive and longest in modern commercial aviation history. And costs are expected to rise after Australian officials said last month that the missing aircraft was not in the area of the Indian Ocean where they had been searching based on ping sounds thought to be from the plane’s black box. The expanded search area includes wide swaths of the Indian Ocean off Australia, and Azharuddin said the new search area “will not be very far away from where the search is now.”
Malaysian officials are scheduled to visit Australia on Tuesday to discuss the latest satellite analysis of the new search area. They’re also expected to visit China, home to two-thirds of the plane’s passengers, on Thursday.
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