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A Dutch contractor will conduct the underwater search for the Malaysian airliner that crashed off the Australian coast in March, Australia announced Wednesday. Fugro Survey Pty. Ltd. will use two vessels towing underwater vehicles equipped with side-scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounders and video equipment to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, Transport Minister Warren Truss said. "I remain cautiously optimistic that we will locate the missing aircraft within the priority search area," Truss told reporters."This search will obviously be a challenging one.”
The search is expected to begin in mid-September and take up to a year to scour 23,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean seabed. Truss said a 12-month search would cost about 52 million Australian dollars ($48 million), but less if the wreckage were found earlier. The airliner disappeared March 8 with 239 people aboard after flying far off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
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— The Associated Press