What the Jet Search Has Cost the World

At $44M so far, it's on its way to most expensive in history

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 8, 2014 5:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – As searchers listen for pings in the Indian Ocean that might help them find the missing Flight 370, Reuters assesses the cost of the hunt after a month and finds that it's on track to become the most expensive search in aviation history. Reuters figures that the militaries of Australia, China, the US, and Vietnam have spent $44 million already, about the amount spent in the two-year search for the Air France jet that went missing in 2009. The $44 million total doesn't take into account civilian aircraft or the cost of accommodating hundreds of intelligence analysts and other personnel worldwide. Add those expenses in, and the total is in the "hundreds of millions of dollars."

Australia is leading the search and has borne about half the costs so far, though Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the nation may ask others to defray its expenses later. "At some point, there might need to be a reckoning, there might need to be some kind of tallying, but nevertheless we are happy to be as helpful as we can to all the countries that have a stake in this," he said. The Pentagon estimates that the US has spent $3.3 million so far. With no sign of the pings in two days, the search could drag on and on, reports AP. Australia plans to release a submersible to scan the ocean floor, but it hopes to get a more precise location before doing so.

An Australia air force crew returns after a search for Flight 370.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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