Almost three years after MH370 disappeared during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the search is over. The plane remains missing.
The Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia, which has helped lead the $160 million hunt for the Boeing 777 in remote waters west of Australia, said the search had officially been suspended. Crews finished their sweep of the 120,000-square kilometre search zone.
“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,” the agency said in a statement, which was a joint communique between the transport ministers of Malaysia, Australia and China.
In July last year authorities warned the hunt would be suspended if the latest search did not show any results. The three Government representatives said they had been overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication of those involved in the search. “Their tireless work has continued to improve our knowledge of the search area and has been critical in our efforts to locate the aircraft,” the statement said.
Officials investigating the plane’s disappearance have recommended search crews head north to a new area. It was identified in a recent analysis as a possible crash site.
But the Australian government has already rejected that idea. Last year, Australia, Malaysia and China – which have each helped fund the process – agreed that the hunt would be suspended once the current zone was exhausted. Unless new evidence emerges that pinpoints the plane’s specific location.
Since no technology currently exists that can tell investigators exactly where the plane is, that effectively means the most expensive, complex search in aviation history is over.
Flight 370 lost contact with air traffic control on March 8, 2014 early in its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were 239 passengers and crew on board.