KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia said Thursday that the search area for the missing Flight 370 will be expanded by another 60,000 square kilometers (23,000 square miles) in the Indian Ocean if the jetliner is not found by May.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters that Malaysia, Australia and China, which are leading the search for the Boeing 777 that went missing on March 8 last year, are "committed to the search."
He told reporters after meeting with his counterparts from the other two countries that so far 61 percent of the 60,000 kilometer (23,000-square-mile) search area has been scoured off Australia's west coast. The remaining area would have been searched by the end of May, he said.
"If the aircraft is not found within the 60,000 square kilometers, we have collectively decided to extend the search to another 60,000 square kilometers within the highest probability area," he said.
He said, the two areas together would cover 95 percent of the flight path of the plane, which went missing while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. It dropped off radar, and investigators later figured out that it made a series of turns and headed in a completely opposite direction from where it was heading before crashing into the Indian Ocean.
"We are confident we are searching in the right area," Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said at the news conference, alongside Liow. "We are confident we have the best search equipment .. if the plane is in the area we will find it."
He said Malaysia and Australia will continue to fund the cost of the next phase of the search. He or the other ministers did now say how much it would cost.