Aviation

Malaysia “more than willing” to continue search for MH370 (if it receives credible leads)

Christian Fleetwood

In the five years since the tragic-fall of Malaysia Airlines’ MH370 flight, there have been as many theories as calls for answers, with neither yielding any true catharsis for the loved ones of those involved in the fatal crash.

With huge claims from journalists, investigators and investors alike, along with a convincing theory from a team of UK scientists coming to the forefront in recent weeks, it was a plea closer to home that’s yielding more credible results, coming off the back of a push from family members of MH370 victims for a renewed search.

More than 30 pieces of debris believed to be part of the MH370 plane have washed up along the Indian Ocean coastline, but as 60 Minutes reported last night, only three have been confirmed to be from the aircraft. Two of the fragments went on display for the first time at Sunday’s memorial event in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia and China as well as Australia called off a two-year, $200 million search in the southern Indian Ocean in January 2017 after finding no trace of the aircraft.

A second three-month search, led by US exploration firm Ocean Infinity, ended similarly in May last year, with the Malaysian Government prepared to offer the company up to $70 million for any findings. Malaysia was prepared to reward firms searching for MH370, but only if they located the aircraft, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said.

“If there are any credible leads or specific proposals… we are more than willing to look at them and we are prepared to discuss with them the new proposals,” Loke told reporters at a memorial event in Kuala Lumpur.

Ocean Infinity CEO Oliver Plunkett said in a video shown at the public remembrance that the company hoped to resume the hunt with better technology it had obtained in the past year.

“We haven’t given up hope,” he said. “We hope we can continue the search in due course.”

But Loke said the company had not yet put forward a fresh proposal.

“If they can convince us that the new technology can be more efficient in terms of the search, then we are more than willing to restart,” Loke said.

Five years after her husband Paul boarded flight MH370, Danica Weeks travelled to Malaysia desperate for answers.

She was the first relative of anyone aboard the Boeing 777  to meet Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad.

“We intend to continue,” Mahathir told Weeks, after urging him to keep searching for the plane.

“And nowadays, with electronic detection, it may be possible for us to find where the plane had come down.”

This was the first time the Prime Minister had ever spoken with a family member of a victim of flight MH370.

Speaking to 60 Minutes, Weeks said she had never given up hope of finding answers.

“This isn’t just about 239 people on a Boeing 777,” Weeks told 60 Minutes reporter Sarah Abo. “This is about eight million people every day that get on a flight. Wives, husbands, family members off for holidays, workers that get on a plane and we don’t know what happened.”

Families of those aboard the plane hoped displaying the debris would help the public understand their loss and spur efforts to continue searching for the aircraft, according to Grace Nathan, a lawyer whose mother Anne Daisy was an MH370 passenger.

“To think of it, I can’t believe this little piece of the plane travelled thousands and thousands of kilometres through the ocean to Africa over the span of two years,” Nathan told the ABC.

“I can’t help but wonder, where is my mother?”

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