Kuala Lumpur, March 8 (PTI): Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak today said he is hopeful that the wreckage of missing flight MH370 will be found as the grieving families of the 239 people on board hoped for some kind of closure on the second anniversary of the world’s biggest aviation mystery.
However, Najib said Malaysia, Australia and China would hold a tripartite meeting to decide the next move if the plane is not found in the 120,000 sq km area in the southern Indian Ocean that is currently being searched.
“If it is not, then Malaysia, Australia and China will hold a tripartite meeting to determine the way forward,” Najib said in a statement.
Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board. There were five Indians on the flight. The plane is believed to have ended its journey in the southern Indian Ocean.Chinese MH370 relatives file suit in Beijing
The international investigation team probing the missing flight MH370 has issued a statement on the plane’s disappearance, indicating that what happened remains a mystery.
“To date, the MH370 wreckage has still not been found despite the continuing search in the South Indian Ocean,” said the statement, which also offered no new insights into what happened to the plane. “The discovery of debris on the island of Reunion last July provided further evidence that, as I announced on 24th March 2014, Flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean. But we know that neither the passage of time, nor this evidence, will comfort those whose grief cannot be assuaged,” Najib said in his statement.
“The disappearance of MH370 was without precedent, and the search has been the most challenging in aviation history. Amidst some of the world?s most inhospitable terrain – at depths of up to six kilometres, across underwater mountain ranges, and in the world’s fastest currents – the search team has been working tirelessly to find MH370’s resting place,” Najib added.
He said that despite all these challenges, the Government remained committed to solving the “agonising mystery for the loved ones of those who were lost in the tragedy”.
“On this most difficult of days, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who will never be forgotten,” he added.
Indian national KS Narendran, 52, whose wife Chandrika Sharma was on the plane said it was important to find out what happened so that air travel would be safer than what it is today. “Not knowing is not an easy position to be in,” he was quoted as saying by Star newspaper.
Nicolette Gomes, 30, whose father and cabin crew Patrick Gomes was on board the flight, said ?the only thing the families wanted was the truth of what happened and where the Boeing 777 was.
“Closure comes a long way. Closure is knowing where the plane is and what happened to the plane. “That is the ultimate closure that we want right now,” she said.
A wing fragment was discovered on Reunion Island last July, and later confirmed to be from MH370, the first proof that the plane went down. Two new pieces of debris have been found in the past week, but it is not yet known if they are from MH370. Families of the 239 crew and passengers on board the missing plane called for the operation to be continued as the search of the 120,000 sq km area in the southern Indian Ocean neared its June deadline.
Asked if the search would be stopped once the entire area had been searched, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said,?”Our stand will be guided by the expert team’s view.”
The search for the plane has cost the countries nearly USD 130 million employing vessels and autonomous underwater vehicles. Liow said that although nearly 500 discoveries had been made by the team in the 90,000sq km of ocean floor scoured so far, none provided any clue to where the missing plane might be.
Liow said yesterday that Malaysia would embark on a “full-force” search for MH370. “This is our commitment. We will continue with this commitment,” he said, adding that he understood the pain suffered by the next of kin.