SYDNEY (AP) — The Latest on the official suspension of the search
The sister of the Flight 370 pilot has slammed the authorities for ending the search despite earlier being confident the plane was in the area.
FILE – In this March 22, 2014, file photo, Flight Officer Jack Chen uses binoculars at an observers window on a Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Southern Indian Ocean, Australia. The Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia said Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 that the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had officially been suspended after crews finished their fruitless sweep of the 120,000-square kilometer (46,000-square mile) search zone west of Australia. Sakinab Shah said the unresolved mystery meant that her brother, senior pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, will not be free of the accusations that he turned rogue and crashed the plane deliberately.
“How can they end the search like that? There will be finger-pointing again,” she said.
“They just don’t give a damn about people’s feelings. They were so cocksure it was there but after three years and so much money and manpower poured in, what came out of it? How do they answer that?”
Sakinab also said it was an embarrassment to the world that such a big plane couldn’t be found despite modern technologies and state-of-the-art gadgets.
Malaysia Airlines says the search for Flight 370 has been “thorough and comprehensive” and it remained guided by the decision of the three governments.
The underwater search was ended Tuesday after three years of effort failed to find a trace of the plane. It disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
The airline said it “remains hopeful that in the near future, new and significant information will come to light and the aircraft would eventually be located.”
More recent analysis of debris that has washed ashore in the western Indian Ocean and other data indicated the plane crashed just north of the search zone. But the governments involved say the new information is not conclusive enough to justify a new search.
China says it will continue to keep in contact with other countries on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 even after the three countries ended the underwater search for the plane.
A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, told reporters that China remains “highly concerned” about the March 2014 crash that killed 239 people, nearly two-thirds of them Chinese.
Hua promised “close communication and cooperation” with Australia and Malaysia.
The three countries announced Tuesday they were suspending search operations, which have cost an estimated $160 million over nearly three years.
Some relatives of the Flight 370 victims said they weren’t satisfied with rescue efforts and wanted them to continue.
Hua declined to comment on the search operation itself.
A woman whose sister was on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 says the families had hoped until the end that a clue would be found that would locate the plane. But they understood the search was too expensive to continue indefinitely.
Jeanette Maguire’s sister Cathy Lawton of Australia and brother-in-law Bob Lawton were on the flight that disappeared in March 2014.
“We were hoping and praying that that wouldn’t be it and we would have found something of significance for them to be able to keep searching,” Maguire said.
“It’s very upsetting for everybody, but at the same token you’ve got understanding there as well to the finances that are required as well as the time required for that search,” she said.
Relatives of some of the 152 Chinese who died aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 say they’re angry and demoralized by the suspension of search efforts.
Li Xinmao, whose daughter and son-in-law were on the flight heading to Beijing, called Tuesday’s announcement “unacceptable.”
Li accused Malaysia and China of being “irresponsible” and ignoring relatives’ protests. Nearly two-thirds of the 239 people on board Flight 370 were Chinese.
Nan Jinyan, whose brother’s fiancé was killed, said relatives had to accept the “fact that the missing plane can’t be found, maybe forever.”
Many Chinese relatives have long been frustrated with the investigation and what they said was a lack of credible information, at one point marching to the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing.