KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — Today, March 8, is exactly six years to the day when Malaysia Airlines’ MH370 vanished from the radar while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China. Despite the long passage of time, the world is still clueless on its final resting place.
And the families of the 239 people on board the Boeing 777 are still looking for closure to the tragic episode.
In fact, the recovery of some fragments of its wings and fuselage in the Indian Ocean, near the waters of south-west coast of Africa, has raised more questions on why the plane veered off far from its original route.
For the loved ones of those on board, it has been a painful wait for answers to the MH370 mystery. As each anniversary of the aircraft’s disappearance nears, families and friends ponder on the fate of those who vanished and hold candlelight vigils in their memory.
An extensive multinational search launched immediately after the plane went missing, and subsequent specialised search using state-of-the-art underwater equipment months later also failed to uncover enough evidence to piece together the jigsaw puzzle.
However, after the search was called off, there was talk earlier this year that it might be resumed in just a matter of months.
Commenting on this development, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) aviation expert Prof Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian said any resumption of the search should be based upon credible new leads, which as of now, are still non-existent.
“We should strategise the search instead of dwelling (on sentiment) and participating in a wild goose chase. We should not create false hope that could bring more grievances for the next of kin,” he told Bernama recently.
Every year, a new theory on MH370 would emerge and be debunked by the authorities, either from Malaysia, China or Australia, the parties involved in the search for the missing jetliner.
To date, the Malaysian Transport Ministry too has not made any decision to launch a new search as there have been no new leads. The ministry is also required to consult both China and Australia should a decision be made with regard to relaunching the search.
An aviation investigator, Captain (Rtd) Abdul Rahmat Omar Tun Mohd Haniff, said the Transport Ministry was right in not going on a search without new evidence.
Abdul Rahmat Omar, a former Royal Malaysian Air Force investigating officer, suggested that under the current circumstances, perhaps the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can work together with its counterparts in Madagascar, La Reunion and nations of southwest Africa.
“The governments of the countries involved could be asked to issue a notice to inform the respective local authorities in the coastal areas should they discover any item that might belong to the ill-fated aircraft.
“These might help narrow down the possible last location of the aircraft,” he said.
Meanwhile, geostrategist Azmi Hassan said any search activity would be costly and thus requires credible new leads to justify its launching.
“The new leads bandied about recently are mostly based on the different ocean current models which had been used before,” he added.
In a nutshell, without any new leads, the world’s greatest aviation mystery will remain just that, a mystery.