Aerial searches for missing flight MH370 will be suspended as officials move to the next phase of the hunt. Private contractors will now be hired to carry out underwater searches that are estimated to cost $56m. The search will cover a much wider area of 60,000km² and is estimated to take at least six to eight months. No debris has yet been found and it is now expected that any parts will have sunk to the ocean bed, where the search continues. "The aircraft plainly cannot disappear. It must be somewhere," Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, said today as he made the announcement. "We do not want this crippling cloud of uncertainty to hang over this family and the wider traveling public."