New search could be undertaken


Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared in the early hours of March 8, 2014, becoming one of the world’s most confounding and enduring aviation mysteries.

The nature of the disappearance and the apparent reluctance of the Malaysian government to green-light new searches have helped to fuel conspiracy theories ranging from a Russian hijacking to an international plot involving America’s CIA.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau searched for MH370 for almost three years.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau searched for MH370 for almost three years.Credit: AP

The leading credible theory points to mass murder-suicide by the experienced captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who is alleged to have veered the jetliner into the remote Southern Indian Ocean, far off the coast of Perth.

Details of the new search proposal were still unclear on Sunday. More was expected to be revealed in the coming days, possibly on the anniversary itself on Friday.

“At this stage, we are unable to say definitively when a new search will take place as discussions are ongoing and there is still much work to be done,” Ocean Infinity chief executive Oliver Plunkett said in an emailed statement.

“We are hopeful that our experienced team and marine robotics will be instructed in 2024.”

Adventurer Blaine Gibson, who has found many pieces of debris attributed to MH370.

Adventurer Blaine Gibson, who has found many pieces of debris attributed to MH370. Credit: Zach Hope

Blaine Gibson, a US-born adventurer who has tracked down many pieces of debris attributed to MH370, said the sparse details presented on Sunday appeared similar to an earlier Ocean Infinity proposal, but he suspected this information was only the beginning.

“I have not seen the specific areas to be searched … but it’s very positive news,” he said. “It is ‘no find, no fee’ – and no risk to Malaysia to start the search.”

VPR Nathan, who lost his wife Anne Daisy on MH370, presented some of the research by Ocean Infinity since its last effort in 2018.

He said the proposal was shaped with input from three international universities, as well as an independent group dedicated to solving MH370, and aviation experts such as Frenchmen Captain Patrick Blelly and Jean Luc Marchand.

There has also been involvement from British aerospace engineer Richard Godfrey, who co-authored a study that used amateur radio waves to map MH370’s final resting place to a section of ocean about 1500 kilometres west of Perth, much of it yet to be covered by underwater searches.

A video tribute from Australian Amanda Lawton, whose parents Cathy and Bob were on MH370, was played at Sunday’s 10-year remembrance.

A video tribute from Australian Amanda Lawton, whose parents Cathy and Bob were on MH370, was played at Sunday’s 10-year remembrance.

Sunday’s three-hour remembrance event in the city of Sambung Jaya featured speeches, poems, ballet, songs and interpretative dancing.

No Australian families were onsite, but organisers played a video tribute from Brisbane’s Amanda Lawton, who lost her parents Cathy and Bob when MH370 disappeared.

They were partway through a holiday that was supposed to take in China and Vietnam.

“My parents were loving and devoted family members,” Amanda said. “My mum was my best friend. We would speak every day, and spend every weekend together.

Each of the victims was represented by a piece of a puzzle at Sunday’s remembrance ceremony.

Each of the victims was represented by a piece of a puzzle at Sunday’s remembrance ceremony. Credit: Zach Hope

“I have had the privilege to meet many of the family members at previous events. I hope everyone is doing well. I wish you all peace and hope we all meet again soon.”

The vast expanse of ocean where MH370 is believed to have gone down rests in Australia’s search and rescue zone.

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Days after the 2014 disappearance, a surface search led by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority found nothing. Neither did a more exhaustive 120,000-square-kilometre search by the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau. It was officially suspended in 2017 after almost three years.

Australia has since taken a back seat.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said future searches for MH370 were a matter for Malaysia and that it had not received a request for further assistance.



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