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Three companies offering to search for MH370: Malaysia

© AFP | A man walks past a mural of missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane in a back-alley in Shah Alam, Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - 

Three companies have offered to resume the search for flight MH370 but no decision has been reached on whether to take up any of the proposals, a Malaysian minister said Tuesday.

US seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity, Dutch company Fugro -- which was involved in the original hunt -- and a Malaysian company have made offers, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told AFP.

He did not disclose the name of the Malaysian company.

The Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 people on board disappeared in March 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, sparking a massive underwater search in the remote southern Indian Ocean.

No sign of the aircraft was found in a 120,000 square kilometre (46,000 square mile) zone based on satellite analysis of the jet's likely trajectory after it diverted from its flight path.

The Australian-led hunt -- the largest in history -- was suspended in January, sparking criticism from families of those on board and some experts that it was called off too soon.

"There are three search companies coming up with their proposals to continue the search, so we are looking into their proposals," Liow said.

"This is only at the proposal stage... there is no timeframe."

He said the head of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation was negotiating with the companies and the offers would also be discussed with Australia and China.

The majority of passengers on the flight were Chinese and Beijing was also involved in the search effort.

His comments came after Australian media reported that the Malaysian government was poised to announce soon that it was accepting one of the offers and the search would resume.

Ocean Infinity, which has made a "no find, no fee" offer, was said to be the favourite.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said this month in its final report into the disappearance that it was "inconceivable" for a large commercial aircraft to vanish in the modern era, but they now had a better understanding of where it might be.

Only three fragments of MH370 have been found on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon.

© 2017 AFP