Malaysia’s transport minister has said that he is open to being persuaded that new technology could help find MH370, the flight which disappeared five years ago this week.
Anthony Loke said: “We are more than willing to restart the search.”
Two previous wide-scale sweeps of the Indian Ocean seabed have failed to find any trace of the Boeing 777 that vanished on 8 March 2014 with 239 people on board.
The jet strayed from its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. While the aircraft was not tracked at the time, because its transponder was apparently turned off, later interpretation of automatically transmitted “pings” from the plane led investigators to conclude it is lost in the southeast Indian Ocean.
Some debris from the doomed flight has been washed up on Indian Ocean beaches. But the biggest underwater search in history, coordinated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, was called off in January 2017 after two years.
An American firm, Ocean Infinity, spent several months in 2018 searching a different patch of seabed on a “no-find, no-fee” basis.
At the fifth MH370 Remembrance Event in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Loke said that if Ocean Infinity or another organisation could make a convincing case for deploying sophisticated new underwater drones, Malaysia would begin a third search.
Relatives of the 227 passengers and 12 crew on the flight have been pressing for a resumption of the search. The argument advanced on social media is that it is essential to find out what happened to their loved ones in order to enhance aviation security in future.
Official organisations concur that a criminal act was behind the disappearance. The possibility of a hacker taking control was dismissed in the final accident report, which said: “There is no evidence to support the belief that control of the aircraft…could have been or was taken over remotely.”
But it concluded: “The team is unable to determine the real cause for the disappearance of MH370.”
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