Families of passengers protest MH370 search suspension

Updated 2017-01-18 08:52:00 Global Times

The families of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have called for extending the search, saying they are dismayed over the suspension of deep-sea search efforts.

The search for MH370 was suspended Tuesday after nearly three years without result, the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments said this week.

"The proposed tripartite meeting appears to have been a mere smokescreen and the First Principles Review now appears to be a wasted exercise," according to a joint statement of Voice 370, the MH370 family support group, sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's First Principles Review report, released on December 20, 2016, recommended a new search area of 25,000 square kilometers, north of the current one, to help solve the mystery.

Having combed 120,000 square kilometers, stopping at this stage is nothing short of irresponsible, the statement claims, and it betrays a shocking lack of faith in the data, tools and recommendations of an array of experts assembled by the authorities themselves, adding that "we appeal to Malaysia, China and Australia to reconsider the decision to suspend the search."

Chinese family members said that they will meet Malaysia Airlines authorities on Wednesday and go to China's foreign ministry on Thursday.

"Suspending the search is just a word game. It is irresponsible to taxpayers, international aviation safety and harms relatives. We did not see any plans about debris found in East Africa in the report, which will help locate the position of the airplane," Jiang Hui, whose mother was on the missing airplane, told the Global Times.

Relatives claim that a lack of funding is the major reason for the suspension and requested the Malaysian government release the boarding video and criminal investigation.

The plane "has not been located" in the 120,000 square kilometer (46,000 square miles) search area of the southern Indian Ocean, AFP reported Tuesday, citing a statement from all three nations.

"Despite every effort using the best technology available, as well as models and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their fields, the search has failed to locate the aircraft," the statement added.

"Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended," said the statement.

Investigators have so far confirmed that three pieces of debris recovered on western Indian Ocean shorelines came from MH370. Other pieces, recovered mostly on the same shorelines have been identified as likely, though not definitely, from the missing aircraft.

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