A search by a private Texas company for missing Malaysian airliner MH370 is being called off next week.
Houston-based Ocean Infinity has been looking for the aircraft since January. The salvage company struck a deal with the Malaysian government that it would only get paid — upwards of US$70 million — if it found the aircraft.
Although painful for surviving family members, two former Malaysian Airlines executives told Global News that calling off the search was the right decision.
“The south Indian Ocean, where we believe the plane went down, is some of the most inhospitable parts of the world,” said Dean Dacko, former senior vice-president of Malaysian Airlines. “It’s eight kilometres deep. Nothing has ever been found below two kilometres.”
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“I think it’s such a longshot to be able to find the aircraft in that area,” said Hugh Dunleavy, former CCO of Malaysian Airlines. “You could search for the next 20-30 years and have no success. I think we have to wait til there is newer technology that can give better definition of what is happening on the seabed and then look again.”
The two executives were in Montreal this week and gave their perspective on the tragedy that happened in March 2014.
Dunleavy says it’s possible the aircraft will never be found.
“I think it’s a definite possibility. It’s a very deep ocean.”
The tragedy still haunts them, four years later.
“Some people lost parents. Parents lost children, some people lost brothers and sisters, grandchildren.” Dunleavy said.
“The most difficult thing I think for all of us was there was no information. We just did not know where that aircraft had disappeared to,” said Dacko.
Despite pieces of wreckage washing up on remote Indian islands, there’s still no official conclusion about what happened. This is despite an exhaustive, $200-million search and investigation.
There are plenty of theories though. One new book claims pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah took control of the plane and committed murder-suicide. It’s a theory Dunleavy doesn’t support.
“It’s still all speculation. Until we find that aircraft it’s all speculation,” Dunleavy said.
Dunleavy believes people should focus on family members left devastated by the loss, and not unsubstantiated theories.
If there’s any good to come out of such a terrible tragedy, Dunleavy says airlines are changing. More are adopting technology to allow for tracking of planes at all times.