Sunday 21 January 2018

Search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ends after nearly three years, with key questions unanswered

A Malaysian patrol ship searches for Flight MH370.
A Malaysian patrol ship searches for Flight MH370.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has ended after nearly three years, the Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre in Australia has said.

Crews have finally completed their deep-sea search of a desolate stretch of the Indian Ocean without finding a single trace of the plane.

The centre said on Tuesday that the search had officially been suspended after crews finished their fruitless sweep of the 46,000-square mile search zone west of Australia.

The end of the hunt raises the prospect that the world's greatest aviation mystery may never be solved.

A man whose son was aboard MH370 at a protest outside the Chinese foreign ministry. Photo: Reuters
A man whose son was aboard MH370 at a protest outside the Chinese foreign ministry. Photo: Reuters

For the families of the 239 people on board, the suspension of the search is particularly bitter following a recent acknowledgement by officials that they had been looking for the plane in the wrong place.

The centre helped to lead the £133 million hunt for the Boeing 777 in the remote waters west of Australia.

"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," it said.

"Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended."

Officials investigating the plane's disappearance have recommended that search crews head north to a new area identified in a recent analysis as a possible crash site.

But the Australian government has already rejected that idea.

Police officers inspect metallic debris found on a beach in Saint-Denis on the French Reunion Island
Police officers inspect metallic debris found on a beach in Saint-Denis on the French Reunion Island

Last year, Australia, Malaysia and China - which have each helped fund the search - agreed that the hunt would be suspended once the search zone was exhausted unless new evidence emerges that pinpoints the plane's specific location.

Since no technology currently exists that can tell investigators exactly where the plane is, that effectively means the most expensive, complex search in aviation history is over.

Press Association

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