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Australia hires Dutch firm to continue MH370 search
by Brooks Hays
Sydney (UPI) Aug 6, 2014

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

It's been almost five months since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean without a trace. Evidence of the jetliner itself or the 239 passengers and crew on board has yet to be found, but the search continues as the Australian government announced this week it has hired Dutch firm Fugro NV to continue looking for the missing Boeing 777.

Beginning in September, the engineering firm will begin scouring a 23-square-mile expanse of the ocean floor off the southwest corner of the Australian coast. Fugro won a competitive bidding process to secure the $48.4 million contract, beating out companies more experienced in search missions for underwater wreckage, Odyssey Marine Explorations Inc. and Blue Water Recoveries, as well as Houston-based oil and gas services firm Oceaneering International Inc.

Still, Fugro is well equipped for the work, as it's been helping its oil and gas clients investigate underwater terrain for more than 50 years -- developing an expertise at ocean-floor mapping and sea-based geolocation.

"That's one of our strengths: integrating sonar with motion reference on board to get accurate maps," Rob Luijnenburg, Fugro's director of corporate strategy, told the Wall Street Journal.

Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss announced the new contract with Fugro on Wednesday, and said he is "cautiously optimistic" the search will be successful.

Fugro plans to drop side-scan sonar, multibeam echo sounders and video cameras deep into the ocean and tow the instruments slowly across the search area. If debris is detected, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has agreed to provide Fugro engineers with two of its Remus 6000 autonomous underwater vehicles to investigate further.


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Nepal says 156 people killed in landslide, ends search
Lamosanghu, Nepal (AFP) Aug 06, 2014
Nepal rescuers said Wednesday 156 people were presumed killed in a landslide that struck on the weekend, as they called off their search for remaining bodies buried in the debris. Thirty-four bodies, including those of seven children, have been pulled from the rubble since Nepal's worst landslide in more than a decade slammed into hamlets in Sindhupalchok district on Saturday. But rescue ... read more

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