MH370 hopes ‘fading’, search suspension looms
Hope of finding flight MH370’s final resting place is “fading” and the massive three-nation search for the doomed jet will be suspended if nothing turns up in the suspected crash zone, Malaysia, Australia and China said on Friday.
With the designated search area due to be fully scanned within weeks, transport ministers from the three countries made the announcement after discussing the future of the unprecedented deep-sea hunt for the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane.
“With less than 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 square miles) of the high priority search area remaining to be searched, ministers acknowledged that despite the best efforts of all involved the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading,” said a joint statement after the meeting in Malaysia’s administrative capital Putrajaya. Unless “credible new evidence” turns up by the time the current operations are completed, “the search would not end, but be suspended” until solid new information pointing to a crash site emerges, they said.
“The suspension does not mean the termination of the search. Ministers reiterated that the aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned,” said the statement read out by meeting host Liow Tiong Lai of Malaysia as Australia’s Darren Chester and China’s Yang Chuantang looked on. The Boeing 777 vanished March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard, mostly Chinese nationals, in what remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.