AMSTERDAM - Engineers have started a months-long survey to map uncharted deep-sea terrain at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the next step in the search for the wreck of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
A survey ship from Dutch engineering company Fugro began mapping out an area larger than the Netherlands, some 1000 miles east of Australia's northwest coast.
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The search for the lost plane is expected to cost $56 million over the first year.
"It's a rough area," said Rob Luijnenburg, strategy director at Fugro, which usually conducts surveys for oil and telecommunications companies. "The area has mountains, ridges, valleys, and you can't see a lot down there unless you make it visible with technology."
It will take roughly three months for the Fugro Equator survey ship, which is being assisted by a Chinese naval vessel, to map out the typography of the ocean floor.
Carrying 239 crew and passengers, the Boeing 777 disappeared from radar screens on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.