4-year-search for missing MH370 plane officially ends: Will the mystery ever be solved?
The four-year search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has officially come to an end — and there are still no answers to one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.
After combing thousands of square kilometres in the Indian Ocean, investigators are left scratching their heads as to why the plane, carrying 239 people, vanished en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.
Offical search efforts for the Boeing 777 ended in January 2017, but a private search continued until Tuesday.
WATCH: What happened on Flight MH370 may never be known
Grace Nathan, whose mother was on the flight, said it’s “not the time to give up,” despite the latest hunt for the wreckage ending.
“All we can do is hope, there hasn’t been anything found yet, and I think the fact that this current search hasn’t found anything has only raised more questions than provided answers,” she said. “I believe that this means, that there is more reason to reinvestigate, reevaluate, and restart if necessary.”
Timeline of the search
March 8, 2014: Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m local time en route to Bejing. Within 40 minutes the plane vanishes from radar, but there was no distress signal or message sent. Audio released by the Malaysian government revealed that the last words spoken were “good night Malaysian three seven zero.”
The original search focused on the South China Sea before an analysis revealed that the plane had made an unexpected turn west and then south in the Indian Ocean.
July 2015: Debris from the plane washed up on an island in the Indian Ocean, close to Madagascar.
January 2017: The governments of Australia, Malaysia and China call off the official search after failing to find anything in the area where the plane was believed to have crashed. Relatives of those lost on the plane responded with outrage.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s final report on the search conceded that authorities were no closer to knowing the reasons for the Boeing 777′s disappearance, or its exact location.
January 2018: Malaysia signs a deal with a private company, Texas-based Ocean Infinity, to resume the search. The company agreed to work unpaid but would have received a reward of up to $70 million if it had found the wreckage or black boxes.
May 2018: Malaysia announced the search by Ocean Infinity would come to an end after more than three months of scouring 112,000 square kilometres of the ocean. No other search has been scheduled.
Despite pieces of wreckage washing up on remote Indian islands, there’s still no official conclusion about what happened. But there are theories.
In a newly released book, titled MH370 Mystery Solved, a Canadian aviation expert claims the pilot took control of the plane and committed murder-suicide.
Larry Vance, a former investigator with the Transportation Safety Board Canada, believes the plane was intentionally flown into the southern Indian Ocean by one of the pilots.
“One of the pilots eliminated the other pilot and took the airplane to the ocean and intentionally ditched it,” Vance told Global News. “Somebody decided to end their own life and for whatever reason that everyone else was going to go with them.”
After studying detailed photographs of the debris, Vance and a team of international experts concluded the plane was deliberately crashed as sections of the flap system were in the downward position, meaning the plane entered the water at a relatively low speed.
WATCH: Has the mystery of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 been solved?
Ran out of fuel
However, the theory proposed by Vance and other investigators is at odds with Australian air safety investigators, who believe the jet crashed into the water after it ran out of fuel and its pilots were incapacitated.
Investigators also believed all 239 passengers and crew on board were likely long dead inside a depressurized cabin and cockpit.
Peter Foley, who co-ordinated the search on Malaysia’s behalf, disagreed with Vance’s book and pointed to evidence that the plane was not under anyone’s control when it hit the water.
He said analysis of the satellite transmissions of the flight’s final moments showed the jet was in a fast and accelerating descent at the end. Debris from within the plane’s interior found washed up on the west coast of the Indian Ocean suggested significant energy on impact, Foley said.
What happens next?
Malaysia’s transport minister, Anthony Loke, said a full report into MH370’s disappearance would be published in the near future, but he did not give a date.
“I can assure you the final report will be published with full disclosure. There will not be any edits, or anything hidden,” he told reporters late on Monday.
WATCH: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search ends with few answers
Asked whether the report would refer to controversial elements of the MH370 case, he said: “To me, whatever elements, we will just publish it.”
Australia, Malaysia and China agreed in 2016 that an official search would only resume if the three countries had credible evidence that identified a specific location for the wreckage.
Over the long term, a project to map the ocean floor, called Seabed 2030, may also help solve the mystery, according to BBC News.
— Wih files from Global News’ Andrew Russell and Reuters
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