Advertisement

Malaysia ‘happy to reopen’ search for MH370 if ‘compelling’ evidence emerges

A memorial wall marks the 10th anniversary of the plane's disappearance
A memorial wall in Malaysia marks the 10th anniversary of the plane's disappearance - Shutterstock

Malaysia’s prime minister has said he would be “happy to reopen” the search for missing flight MH370 if “compelling” evidence emerged.

Ahead of the tenth anniversary of its disappearance this Friday, Anwar Ibrahim was asked about renewing the hunt for the Malaysian Airlines jet during his visit to Melbourne on Monday.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a technical issue. It’s an issue affecting the lives of people and whatever needs to be done must be done.”

The prime minister’s comments followed confirmation by Anthony Loke, the transport minister, that US technology firm Ocean Infinity had proposed another “no find, no fee” search of the seabed in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have crashed in 2014.

Mr Ibrahim, seen here in Melbourne, said he hoped the plane would be found to 'provide truth to the next-of-kin'
Mr Ibrahim, seen here in Melbourne, said he hoped the plane would be found to 'provide truth to the next-of-kin' - STEVE CHRISTO/ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2024/AFP via Getty Images

“The government is steadfast in our resolve to locate MH370,” Mr Loke told a remembrance event in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, which was attended by about 500 relatives of the victims and their supporters.

“We really hope the search can find the plane and provide truth to the next-of-kin.”

The fate of the Boeing 777, which vanished from radar while carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, has become one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries.

Satellite data revealed the plane veered from its flight path after pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah said goodbye to Malaysian air traffic controllers and moved into Vietnamese airspace without indicating anything was wrong.

The plane’s transponder was turned off as it appeared to turn around to fly back south towards the Indian Ocean.

Family members of passengers and crew on board the missing plane light 239 candles
Family members of passengers and crew on board the missing plane light 239 candles - Shutterstock

A $200m multinational government search led by Malaysia, China and Australia ended without success in 2017, followed by a private investigation by Texas-based Ocean Infinity in 2018 that was also fruitless.

Oliver Plunkett, Ocean Infinity’s chief executive, told the New Straits Times the company had been focusing on improving its technology and robotics since 2018 to make another attempt.

“We now feel in a position to be able to return to the search for MH370,” he told the Malaysian publication, adding that Ocean Infinity had been working with experts to try and narrow down the search area.

The Malaysian government has yet to indicate how much it would pay for a successful mission, although in 2018 a sum of up to $70m was on the table.

Mr Loke said he had invited the company to meet him to evaluate new scientific evidence.

Visitors look at the wreckage of an aircraft believed to be from flight MH370
Visitors look at the wreckage of an aircraft believed to be from flight MH370 - Hasnoor Hussain/Reuters

The Associated Press reported that family members attending the remembrance event were visibly moved by the hope of a fresh probe to find their loved ones.

“I’m on top of the world,” said Jacquita Gomes, whose flight attendant husband was on the plane.

“We have been on a roller coaster for the last 10 years… If it is not found, I hope that it will continue with another search,” she said.