Saturday, 26 May 2018

The search for MH370 will end next week, but new PM opens the door for another search

Malaysian authorities have announced that the search for missing flight MH370 by private US company will finish next week.

On Wednesday the Malaysian transport minister, Anthony Loke said that the 90-day search deal with Ocean Infinity was due to end in April but had been extended twice until 29th May, following the firm’s request.  “There will be no more extensions. It cannot continue forever. Let’s wait until May 29 and we will then decide how to proceed."

The organisation Voice 370, which represents many of families of those onboard the vanished flight, issued a statement which urged the new government to review all matters related to the jet’s disappearance including “any possible falsification” or elimination of maintenance records and any omission that may have impaired tracking, search, rescue and recovery of the plane.

Loke advised that the new government, which realised power after the 9th May elections, is committed to transparency and will release details for public scrutiny in due time.

In January Texas, US-based Ocean Infinity was engaged to resume the search for the aircraft, almost exactly a year after the official search in the southern Indian Ocean by Australia, Malaysia and China was called off. The new search has not turned up anything that could shed light on the mystery so far. 

Under the deal, the Malaysian government will pay Ocean Infinity up to $70 million based on the size of the area searched if the mission is successful within three months. Officials have said there was an 85 percent chance of finding the debris in a new 25,000-square-kilometer search area identified by experts.

However, Malaysia's new prime minister-elect has said he's not ruling out the possibilities of further searches. Anwar Ibrahim, 70, says there are too many questions that have not been answered on MH370.  "'Was it a failure of the system? Was it a failure of those monitoring the system or was it an intention to ignore or cover up?" he told local media, he also said he believed there were discrepancies in the cargo, passenger lists and the government's earlier assertions that the plane flew over the South China Sea instead of the Indian Ocean. "What was described by authorities and what was in the cargo was totally different," he said.