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MH370: Malaysia could reopen search for lost flight. Why now?

Click to play video: 'Malaysia pushes for renewed MH370 search, 10 years after plane went missing'
Malaysia pushes for renewed MH370 search, 10 years after plane went missing
WATCH - Malaysia pushes for renewed MH370 search, 10 years after plane went missing – Mar 3, 2024

Malaysian officials have signaled their willingness to reopen the search for MH370 if “compelling” new evidence emerges.

Despite it being 10 years since Malaysia Airlines MH370 vanished over the southern Indian Ocean, capturing global attention and sparking a decade of theories over the doomed flight’s final location, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday his government’s position remains the same.

“We have taken the position that if there is a compelling case, evidence that it needs to be re-opened, we’re certainly happy to re-open,” he told reporters in Melbourne, Australia.

“Whatever needs to be done must be done.”

Click to play video: 'Mysterious giant metal cylinder washes up on Australian beach'
Mysterious giant metal cylinder washes up on Australian beach

Ibrahim comments come after a U.S. company that tried to find the plane in 2018 proposed a fresh search in the southern Indian Ocean.

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Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke said on Sunday he would invite the firm, Ocean Infinity, to brief him on its latest “no find, no fee” proposal. If the evidence is credible, he said, he will seek cabinet’s approval to sign a new contract to resume the search.

“The government is steadfast in our resolve to locate MH370,” Loke told a memorial event on Sunday marking the 10th anniversary of jet’s disappearance.

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

Click to play video: 'MH370 families hope mistakes ‘are not repeated’ after investigation report'
MH370 families hope mistakes ‘are not repeated’ after investigation report

Loke’s response sparked tears of joy in some family members at the memorial, The Associated Press reported.

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“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,” said Bai Zhong, from China, whose wife was on the plane.

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Search company has better technology: CEO

MH370, a Boeing 777 plane, vanished from radar shortly after taking off on March 8, 2014. It was carrying 239 people, mostly Chinese nationals, to Beijing from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur.

Satellite data showed the plane deviated from its flight path to head over the southern Indian Ocean, where it is believed to have crashed.

Click to play video: 'Search for missing MH370 plane officially ends'
Search for missing MH370 plane officially ends

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

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A private search in 2018 by Ocean Infinity also found nothing.

V.P.R. Nathan, a member of the Voice MH370 next-of-kin group, said Ocean Infinity initially planned a search last year, but it was delayed by the delivery of a new fleet. It is now on track to resume the hunt, he said.

Ocean Infinity has improved its technology since its 2018 search, CEO Oliver Plunkett told the New Straits Times.

“We now feel in a position to be able to return to the search for MH370,” he said.

“We’ve been working with many experts, some outside of Ocean Infinity, to continue analyzing the data in the hopes of narrowing the search area down to one in which success becomes potentially achievable.”

Click to play video: 'Daughter of flight MH370 passenger says it’s ‘not time to give up’ on search for plane'
Daughter of flight MH370 passenger says it’s ‘not time to give up’ on search for plane

On the fifth anniversary of MH370’s disappearance, Malaysian officials made the same statement as they did over the past 24 hours. Ocean Infinity also said at the time it hoped to resume the hunt with better technology it obtained in the past year.

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A Malaysian-led independent investigation report released in July 2018 showed lapses in the government’s response, and raised the possibility of “intervention by a third party.”

Investigators have said the cause of the disappearance can’t be determined until the wreckage and the plane’s black boxes are found. The report reiterated Malaysia’s assertion the plane was deliberately diverted and flown for over seven hours after severing communications.

However, the investigation said there was no evidence of abnormal behaviour or stress in the two pilots that could lead them to hijack the plane.

All the other passengers were also cleared by police and had no pilot training.

— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters

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