Families of passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 given new hope of answers

4 March 2024, 09:23

The hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be renewed
The hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be renewed. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

The hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be renewed after a US technology firm proposed a fresh search in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have crashed a decade ago.

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Malaysia's transport minister Anthony Loke said Texas-based Ocean Infinity has proposed another "no find, no fee" basis to scour the seabeds, expanding from the site where it first searched in 2018.

He said he has invited the company to meet him to evaluate new scientific evidence it has to find the plane's final resting place.

If the evidence is credible, he said, he will seek cabinet's approval to sign a contract with Ocean Infinity to resume the search.

Speaking at a remembrance event to mark the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of the jet, he said: "The government is steadfast in our resolve to locate MH370.

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"We really hope the search can find the plane and provide truth to the next-of-kin."

The Boeing 777 plane carrying 239 people, mostly Chinese nationals, from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished from radar shortly after taking off on March 8, 2014. Satellite data showed the plane deviated from its flight path and is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

An expensive multinational government search failed to turn up any clues, although several pieces of debris washed ashore on the east African coast and Indian Ocean islands.

A private search in 2018 by Ocean Infinity also found nothing, but the tragedy sparked moves to bolster aviation safety.

KS Nathan, a member of the Voice MH370 group comprising next-of-kin of those on board the jet, said Ocean Infinity initially planned a search last year but it was delayed by the delivery of its new fleet of ships and assets. It is now on track to resume the hunt, he said.

Mr Loke declined to reveal the fee proposed by Ocean Infinity if it finds the plane, as this is subject to negotiation. He said financial cost is not an issue and that he does not foresee any hindrances for the search to proceed if all goes well.

His comments sparked tears of joy among some family members at the memorial event in a Kuala Lumpur suburb.

"I'm on top of the world," said Jacquita Gomes, whose flight attendant husband was on the plane. She said she is thankful that she may now have a chance for full closure and say a final goodbye.

"We have been on a roller-coaster for the last 10 years. If it is not found, I hope that it will continue with another search," she said.

Family members of passengers from Malaysia, Australia, China and India paid tribute to their loved ones during the event, lighting a candle on stage to remember them.

Bai Zhong, from China, whose wife was on the plane, said: "No matter if it is 10 years, 20 years or more, as long as we are still alive... we will not cease to press for the truth. We believe the truth will eventually come to light."

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