Search for the Ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 Officially Ends

Underwater search for MH370 called off – US$160 million spent on the unsuccessful search for the main wreckage – 46,000 square mile hunt lasting almost three years brought up zilch

Search for the Ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 Officially Ends

This will certainly go down as one of aviation history’s biggest ever unsolved mysteries – the unsuccessful underwater scavenging for the main wreckage of Flight MF370, a Boeing 777 aircraft, over a search zone of 46,000 square miles for nearly three years.

The multinational underwater search for the doomed aircraft, involving teams of experts from Australia, China, and Malaysia, was officially abandoned according to the Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia.

In a joint communiqué between the transport ministries of Australia, China and Malaysia, the Agency leading the massive search said in a statement, “Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft.”

A Malaysian patrol ship searches for Flight MH370
A Malaysian patrol ship searches for Flight MH370

“The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness.”

The US$160 million expense incurred for the failed hunt was jointly funded by Australia, China, and Malaysia under an agreement that the tracking would be called off once the search zone was completely covered.

However, if new evidence of the exact location emerges, the pursuit for the main wreckage and the black box may resume – until then it is officially all over.

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 was a regular passenger flight, a Boeing 777 aircraft, carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 15 nations.

The flight originating from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8, 2014, en route to the Beijing Capital International Airport in China, disappeared from the radar screens of air traffic controllers an hour into the flight.

The last voice contact between MH370 and the air traffic control was made at 01:19 MYT and disappeared from the radar screens at 01:22 MYT.

What happened to the Flight MH370 will continue to remain a mystery until further viable evidence is made available for the underwater search to continue.

Spare a thought for the families of 239 passengers (including crew members) who would have certainly wanted the search to continue. Although acceptance of the loss of their near and dear ones on the doomed flight may have set in the very first week of the disappearance, they would certainly like to know what really happened – not only their families and friends but the whole world would like to know what really transpired inside the aircraft leading to the tragedy.

What makes the disappearance even more puzzling and gives it a mysterious twist is the fact that no distress signals or SOS of any kind were relayed or communicated from the aircraft before it vanished into thin air, like a conjurer’s trick.

On March 25, 2014, there were huge protests outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, China, by more than 200 family members of the Chinese passengers.

The Malaysian authorities had to face a lot of flak from relatives of passengers holding the Malaysian government responsible for hiding the truth and even harboring a murderer.

A 2m-long wing flap from MH370, found off Tanzania, was identified by experts in Canberra in September 2016. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
A 2m-long wing flap from MH370, found off Tanzania  in Canberra in September 2016. Photo: Getty Images

After review and proper scrutiny of available information along with new data on ocean currents, the Transport Bureau concluded, in December, that the plane had crashed into the ocean in an area north of the search zone of 46,000 square miles – which in any case has proved to be an exercise in futility at an expense of US$160 million.

The Australian government, however, discarded the Transport Bureau’s recommendation of searching the new area in the north identified by them. Their response was that the expert analyses did not provide any hard evidence to justify a continuation or resumption of the hunt.

Transport ministries of the three countries involved validated the Australian government’s response and assessment in a statement which said, “Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft.”

The search initiated by the joint team, however, employed the most scientific and state-of-the-art technology, and every other resource they could lay their hands on to comb the search zone as thoroughly as possible – sadly to no avail.

There was no hard evidence other than speculations that the plane was in the Indian Ocean until July 2015, when the first proof of the plane being in the Indian Ocean was found – a wing flap of the Boeing 777 was found in the Reunion Islands, east of Madagascar.

Ever since the first clue was discovered, a mix of confirmed and believed objects from the plane has washed ashore on different beaches of the Indian Ocean.

The retrieval of the wing flap from the Reunion Islands and around twenty other objects recovered from different parts of the Indian Ocean may prove that the plane went down in the Indian Ocean.

However, the location of the main wreckage or the fuselage and black box continues to baffle authorities involved in the hunt and still remains a mystery which, in all likelihood will never be solved – intentionally or unintentionally.

One wonders why with the most advanced and ultra-high-tech equipment at our disposal almost three years have elapsed and we still don’t have a clue – this is a little more than surprising.

It compels you to think if there is a deliberate attempt by the authorities to keep the facts of the disappearance of Flight MH370 classified for reasons best known to them – who knows!

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