Flight MH370: Malaysian transport official promises missing airliner 'will be found' but refuses to confirm extension of search

Joint missing with Australian search crews is currently scanning the Indian Ocean but is due to end in May

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The Independent Online

Malaysia’s transport minister has insisted missing flight MH370 “will be found” - but refused to promise continuing the search beyond May.

A year on from the disappearance of the commercial airliner, hundreds of families are no closer to finding out what happened to their loved ones as they continue to battle to hold the Malaysian government to their previous pledge to “never give up”.

The Boeing 777 airliner disappeared on 8 March last year en route from Kuala Lumpar to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday that when the current search of the Indian Ocean was completed investigators will have to “go back to the drawing board”.

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Map showing the new search area in the Indian ocean for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

A A$120m search effort, coordinated by an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) but also funded by the Malaysian government, is searching a 60,000sq km priority zone in the Indian Ocean.

"Beyond May, if we have completed the 60,000 square kilometres, if we still cannot find the plane, then we have to go back to the drawing board, we have to go back to the expert group and discuss further what we should do next," Mr Lai told Sky News.

Although he expressed sympathy for the families of those on board the missing plane, the Malaysian transport official refused to be drawn on committing to a continued search.

 

Claiming authorities “were in the same shoes as the next of kin,” Mr Lai said: “These are important issues not only for the next of kin but for the world and we are trying our level best as you can see and we stand guided by the expert search group.”

Malaysian authorities have been heavily criticised for their handling of the crisis.

The plane’s disappearance in March of last year was followed by reams of contradictory information and counter-statements as investigators struggled to maintain a consistent narrative in the face of international focus.

Earlier this week, an open letter from one group of families claimed they had been “subjected to a disorganised barrage of information from varied sources, much of which later proved to be incorrect”.

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