Search for MH370 ends after 3 years, plane not found
The Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia said the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has officially been suspended. Search crews, who finally completed their deep-sea sweep of a 120,000-square kilometre zone of the Indian Ocean, haven't found a single trace of the aircraft. The search's suspension marks a bitter blow to the families of the 239 people on board who perished.
On 8 March 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, bound for Beijing took off from Kaula Lumpur at 12:41 am local time. The Boeing 777 was carrying 12 crew and 227 passengers from 15 nations. The plane was last seen on the military radar at 2:14 am, half an hour after which the airlines announced that it has lost contact with the plane.
The disappearance of MH370 led to a multi-national search effort from Malaysian authorities to Australian authorities. The search covered the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, Andaman Sea and the southern Indian Ocean. On 24 March, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that based on the analysis, flight MH370 had ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.
After a four-month lull in the search activities, it was announced that underwater search upto depths of 6 km would be resumed at the end of Sep 2014. The new underwater search involved ships dragging sonar devices called 'towfish' through water to look for wreckage. The towfish with fuel sensors transmit data to those on board the ship, which would then be analyzed.
On 28 Jan, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) officially declared the MH370 case an accident. The DCA said that, it concluded the plane exhausted its fuel 'over a defined area of the Southern Indian Ocean'. A senior Boeing 777 captain Simon Hardy suggested that the aircraft should be in the Indian Ocean just outside the far south-western edge of the core search area.
On 7 March, Malaysian transport minister said that his country remained committed to find the plane and if not found by the end of May, data will be re-examined and a new plan will be formulated. On 13 May, wreckage discovered in the search zone initially expected to be that of MH370's, eventually turned out to be shipwreck.
With MH370 nowhere to be found, several theories were widely circulated which includes: plane shot down during military operations, hijacked by terrorists, pilot suicide, deliberate act by someone on board etc.
Plane debris found on the French island of Reunion, located in the western Indian Ocean is suspected to be from the missing Malaysian airlines flight MH370. The debris was believed to be a flaperon (part of aircraft wing) from Boeing 777, the same plane as MH370. Xavier Tytleman, an aviation expert was sent the photos of wreckage by a man from the island.
The families of those on board the disappeared Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 filed lawsuits seeking compensation in different countries against the airline. Under the 1999 Montreal Convention, the carrier is liable to give compensation in the event of loss of life and the families can claim upto $160,000 even if the airline is not at fault. 42 families have already settled with the airline.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Wednesday released a report on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The Malaysian flight which disappeared in March 2014 is said to have run out of fuel and thereby descended rapidly, according to the report. Analysis of the wing flap debris by the ATSB stated that the aircraft was not in a position to land.
MH370, the Malaysian Airlines flight which disappeared while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur is possibly not in the current search area, according to experts. After two years of searching, there has been no trace of the flight in the southern Indian Ocean; experts leading the hunt recommend searching further north. Governments of Australia, Malaysia and China are funding the search.