22 March 2018

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01/17/2017 MALAYSIA

After three years, search for missing MH370 suspended

The Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines disappeared on 8 March 2014 with 239 people on board. Relative of missing passenger slams the decision, says “I think there are still something we don't know."

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) – Government officials from Australia, Malaysia and China have decided with “sadness” to suspend the search of the Malaysian airliner that disappeared on 8 March 2014.

"Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft," the joint statement said. “The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness."

In July last year, Australia, China and Malaysia agreed that if the aircraft was not located by the time 120,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles) had been covered, the search would be suspended.

Countries such as Malaysia, China, Australia, USA, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, the Philippines and others took part in the search, providing advanced equipment and professional advice on the matter.

Several experts had often suggested other larger areas. “We’re not searching for a needle in a haystack,” said Air Marshal Mark Binskin, Australia’s deputy defence chief. “We’re still trying to define where the haystack is.”

The plane carried 227 passengers and a crew of 12 whose fate remains a mystery.

Voice370, a support group for family members of those aboard the flight, released a statement expressing their disappointment.

"Commercial planes cannot just be allowed to disappear without a trace," the statement said.

"Stopping at this stage is nothing short of irresponsible, and betrays a shocking lack of faith in the data, tools and recommendations of an array of official experts assembled by the authorities themselves."

"They said they are quite sure that they are searching the right place, but it seems that they are wrong," noted Steve Wang, whose mother was on board the flight.

"I think it is their responsibility,” he added, “not only for the 239 passengers on the plane, or for the next of kin like us, but also they have to give an answer to the whole world ... what really happened to MH370." Ultimately, “We just want them to give us more information. I think there are still something, we don't know."

At 12:41 a.m. local time on 8 March 2014, MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing. It changed course an hour later.

Most of the passengers and crew were from China (153) and Malaysia, but individuals and families from 14 different countries were also on board the missing flight.

Grandparents, a newly graduated engineer, a young couple and a two-year-old boy were among the hundreds of people on board MH370 when it vanished.

Terrorism has not been excluded as possible cause for the plane’s disappearance. A few days after the incident Malaysian intelligence identified one of two men who went on board with stolen (Austrian and Italian) passports.  

At the end of June 2015, pieces of a plane washed up on the island of Reunion. They were later taken to France to see if they came from MH370.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had said that the two-metre long debris came from Boeing 777, the same as MH370.

The disappearance of flight MH370 remains one of the greatest mysteries in modern aviation history.

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