New phase in Flight 370 search to include private contractors, may cost $60 million

(CNN) - The next phase in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will be a more intense underwater search that will use private contractors, take months and cost about $56 million, officials said Monday."I regret to say that thus far none of our efforts in the air, on the surface or under sea, have found any wreckage," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday.

Because it's "highly unlikely" that any debris will be found on the ocean surface, authorities will be suspending aerial searches. By now, most of the debris will have become waterlogged and will have sunk, he said.

Crews will now conduct a thorough search of the ocean floor over a much larger area -- 60,000 square kilometers. The process could take at least six to eight months.

"The aircraft plainly cannot disappear. It must be somewhere," Abbott said. "We do not want this crippling cloud of uncertainty to hang over this family and the wider traveling public."


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