Resume search of plane, families urge govt

  • Nation
  • Monday, 04 Mar 2019

Hope remains: Family members lighting candles at the remembrance event.

KUALA LUMPUR: As families of those on board the ill-fated Flight MH370 renewed calls for the government to resume the search, the Transport Ministry says it is awaiting fresh proposals and credible leads in order to do so.

Minister Anthony Loke said the government was awaiting a new proposal from US exploration firm Ocean Infinity or other interested companies to resume the search for the missing plane.

“If there is a proposal and credible leads, then we are prepared to look at it. It’s not as if we are sitting here and doing nothing.

“If companies can come to us with a proposal and credible leads, then we can consider,” Loke told reporters at the fifth annual remembrance event of MH370 held at Publika Shopping Gallery here yesterday.

Loke said his ministry was more than willing to go into new discussions with Ocean Infinity if it had a fresh proposal to resume the search which the firm embarked on last year on a “no find, no fee” basis, but was unsuccessful.

“As the Ocean Infinity CEO has mentioned, there might be some new technology over the past 12 months and we are willing to look at it.

“If they can convince us that the new technology can be more efficient for the search, then we are more than willing to restart it,” said Loke.

“And if there is a no find, no fee proposal, then we are prepared to look at it.”

Loke said there could not be a fund set aside for the search if there were no proposals for the search.

He dismissed accusations by families of passengers and crew members on board MH370 that the final report published by the government in July last year withheld key information about the missing plane.

“Whatever information we have was already shared in the final report. There is no withholding of information. The report was published in full.

“As far as the report is concerned, it is final. Now we are focusing on resuming the search,” he said.

Flight MH370 became one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries when it disappeared on March 8, 2014, on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Investigators deduced that the aircraft had veered thousands of kilometres off-course from its route before plunging into the Indian Ocean.

Numerous pieces of aircraft parts were reported to have been found, but only three wing fragments have been confirmed to be from MH370.

A search led by Australia in the Indian Ocean had failed to locate the missing plane, causing it to be suspended in January 2017.

Ocean Infinity resumed the search last year but was unsuccessful.

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