—Al Cooper, Atlanta
A: The U.S., China, Australia, Malaysia, Britain, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea are among the 26 countries that have participated in the search, which was estimated by Reuters to have cost $44 million by April 8, a month after the Boeing 777 vanished. Officials have found it difficult to estimate the costs, partly because some of the expenses are essentially being used as training to hone search-and-rescue capabilities, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. Department of Defense allocated $4 million, and it had spent more than $3.3 of that by April 7. The Pentagon also allocated $3.6 million to cover the cost of a towed pinger locator, which detects underwater pings from black boxes. Australia reported that the HMAS Success costs $550,000 a day to operate and the HMAS Toowoomba costs $380,000 a day, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said expense isn't an issue. Japan didn't estimate a cost, but it's believed its part of the search is below the $8.8 million budgeted for emergency relief by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. New Zealand's efforts are within it's budget for such operations, a spokesman told the AP, and China didn't respond to requests. Many planes, ships, submarines, satellites and military personnel have participated in the search. The combined cost for the first month of the search equaled the $44 million spent to find Air France Flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009.