Sydney - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday said the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 will resume off the Western Australia coast within the next month.

“My understanding is they're going to start in the next month or so, but the search could take up to a year,” Abbott told broadcaster ABC.

The Boeing with 239 people onboard disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8. Australia is part of a multinational search operation that searched part of the southern Indian Ocean, where the jet is believed to have crashed.

“They are now going to search the entire probable impact zone which is something like 60 000 square kilometres of the ocean floor off the coast of Western Australia,” Abbott said.

“If the plane is down there, and the best expert advice is that it did go into the water somewhere off the coast of Western Australia, there is a reasonable chance we”ll find it.”

Australia has contracted the Dutch survey company Fugro Survey Pty Ltd to conduct a search of the sea floor. The company will use deep-water vehicles equipped with sonar and video cameras. -

Sapa-dpa