CANBERRA: The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will not be abandoned, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss’ spokesman said yesterday.
His comments come in the wake of fears expressed by families of victims on board the ill-fated Boeing 777 aircraft that the search efforts will be called off, following quotes attributed to Truss in a Reuters report on Monday.
Reuters had reported Truss as saying that the search could not go on forever.
Truss’ spokesman later clarified that the current search was not being called off. In addition, no decision has been made on whether to fund a further search if this one ends unsuccessfully.
The three main countries involved — Australia, China and Malaysia — are meeting next month to decide on whether to fund another stage of the search.
He said the Australian government remained cautiously optimistic about finding the aircraft, having covered more than 40% of the 60,000 sq km priority area in the search so far.
“We’re still cautiously optimistic that the zone we’re looking at is the best possible lead that we have, based on all the available information.
“If, however, the plane is not found at the completion of the search, expected around May 2015, then discussions will be had between Australia, Malaysia, China and potentially others on the next steps,” the spokesman said.
No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
Meanwhile, the next-of-kin of MH370 passengers from China are expected to fly to Malaysia this week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the plane’s disappearance on Sunday, amid continued demands for more transparency. Many of them believe the plane can still be found.
On April 28, 2014, the search and rescue phase transitioned to a underwater search and recovery phase in the southern Indian Ocean about 2,000km west of Perth, on the west coast of Australia, led by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 4, 2015.