i Editor's Letter: Two weeks on and the search continues...


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The Independent Online


It is more than two weeks since flight MH370 vanished from the skies over Malaysia, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Two weeks of confusion, unanswered questions and anger over the lack of a plausible explanation for the airliner’s disappearance.

For friends and relatives of the 239 people on board, it has been an agonising wait for information. We can only imagine the emotional swings that are associated with each potential sighting of bits of the doomed jet in the sea. A positive identification would bring an end to the affair, but also end any possibility of the crew and passengers being found alive. Yesterday a French satellite became the latest to report a sighting of potential debris from the aircraft about 1,500 miles west of Australia.

It seems impossible to comprehend how an object that big can simply vanish, but you may be surprised to learn that since 1948, 83 “large” airliners – those that can carry more than 14 people – have disappeared from our skies. Many have theories over what happened to the missing jet, from catastrophic mechanical failure to a bomb or a hijacking. Others say it could be sitting on the runway of an abandoned airbase.

Even if any evidence is found, hinting at the fate of MH370, the bulk of the fuselage may never be located. When Air France flight 447 went down over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, it took two years to recover the black boxes, despite having a good idea of the aircraft’s location.

Until a positive identification is made, proving that the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 did indeed come down in the Indian Ocean, many of the waiting families still cling to the faint hope that they will see their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters again. But that day may never come, and without closure, they may never be able to grieve.