The biggest search for a missing aircraft in aviation history has been called off, after Australian authorities failed to find the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on Indian Ocean sea floor.
The families of the 239 passengers and crew on board the plane when it left Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on 8 March, 2014, were told yesterday via email that the search was being suspended.
The transport ministers of Australia, China and Malaysia signed the message with read in part: “The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness.”
“Today the last search vessel has left the underwater search area. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has not been located in the 120,000 square-kilometre underwater search area in the southern Indian Ocean,” they wrote.
“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft.”
Last month, a report into the search concluded there was a “high degree of confidence” that the plane’s wreck will not be found in the 120,000 square kilometre area of the Indian Ocean mapped out as the possible crash site after more than two years searching at a cost of almost $200 million.
The report identifies a new area of approximately 25,000 square kilometres, north of the current area.
More than 20 pieces of debris from MH370 has been found on the coasts of Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues. Analysis led investigators to conclude the plane’s flaps were retracted position, which led them to the view it was not a controlled landing.
The flap from the Boeing 777 was found washed up on the island of Pemba, off Tanzania, last June. It is the biggest and best clue so far to the fate of the flight. The adjacent flaperon was found on Reunion Island in 2015.