Five Years On, Malaysian Airlines MH370 Still Remains a Mystery - Here's What We Know So Far
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 five years ago with 239 people on board remains one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.
A woman leaves a message of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: REUTERS) File Photo.
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 five years ago with 239 people on board remains one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries. The Boeing 777 went missing on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. Satellite data analysis showed the plane likely crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia. However, two major searches failed to come up with any significant findings.
Here are some details of the search for MH370.
Malaysia, Australia and China launched an underwater search in a 120,000 sq km (46,332 sq miles) area in the southern Indian Ocean based on the satellite data. The search, which cost about A$200 million ($143 million), was called off after two years in January 2017 with no traces of the plane found.
Last year, Malaysia accepted a "no-cure, no-fee" offer from U.S. exploration firm Ocean Infinity for a three-month search, meaning the company would only get paid if it found the plane. That search covered 112,000 sq km (43,243 square miles) north of the original target area and also proved fruitless, ending in May 2018.
More than 30 pieces of suspected aircraft debris have been collected along the Indian Ocean coastline, but only three wing fragments were confirmed to be from MH370. Most of the debris were used in drift pattern analysis in the hopes of narrowing down the aircraft's possible location.
A 495-page report into MH370's disappearance, published in July 2018, said the Boeing 777's controls were likely deliberately manipulated to take it off course, but investigators could not determine who was responsible.
The report also highlighted mistakes made by the Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control centres and issued recommendations to avoid a repeat incident. Investigators stopped short of offering any conclusions about what happened to MH370, saying that depended on finding the plane's wreckage.
The Malaysian government has said it will consider resuming the search only when credible new evidence is found. Families of those onboard the plane have urged authorities to consider offering a reward, launch a new search, or accept other offers from private companies to find MH370.
FAMILIES SEEKING CLOSURE
A group relatives of Malaysians who were onboard MH370 meet about once a month - usually at a coffee shop or a home in Kuala Lumpur - to support each other and try to keep missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the public eye. Starved for information and struggling to resume their lives, the families have come to lean on each other for support, said Jacquita Gonzales, whose husband Patrick Gomes was MH370's inflight supervisor.
"It goes beyond a group waiting for answers," said Gonzales, a 57-year-old kindergarten teacher who often hosts the group at her home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. "It has become a family as well, an extended family," she told Reuters.
Every Saturday, Chinese farmer Li Eryou still calls the long-disconnected mobile telephone number of his son, who was among the 239 aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. "I don't care what's on the other end," said the 60-year-old farmer from rural Handan, in the northern province of Hebei, as he described his weekly ritual. "I would always say a few words to my son."
After his son's disappearance, Li left his wheat crops overgrown and untended as he travelled back and forth to the Chinese capital of Beijing for meetings with Malaysian and Chinese authorities. "It has been five years, but I haven't given up and will never give up," Li said. "I will continue to search for my son."
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