LOOK: Families of those on board MH370 urge new search for missing plane

A woman leaves a message of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. File picture: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A woman leaves a message of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. File picture: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Published Mar 8, 2023


Kuala Lumpur - The families of those on board the Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane which has been missing since March 8, 2014, have urged the government in Kuala Lumpur to begin a new search for the aircraft.

In 2018, the Malaysian government had engaged US seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity to search for the aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean, offering to pay up to $70 million if it found the plane, reports CNN.

But its operation came up short.

The firm was deployed came after Malaysia, China and Australia ended a fruitless two-year $135 million underwater hunt in January 2017 after finding no trace of the plane.

On Sunday, Voice370 - a grouping of relatives of those aboard the plane - said Ocean Infinity hoped to embark on a new search as early as this summer and urged the Malaysian government to accept any proposals from the firm on a conditional fee basis, such that the firm would only be paid if successful.

"Ocean Infinity, over the last 12 months have made real progress working with many people to further understand... The events in 2014," CNN quoted Voice370 as saying in a statement, following a memorial event to mark the ninth year since MH370's disappearance.

"Ultimately, this has greatly improved their chances of conducting a successful search."

Catherine Gang, whose husband Li Zhi was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, holds a sign during a gathering of family members of the missing passengers outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing March 8, 2015. File picture: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

In a message to read out at the memorial event, Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke vowed not to "close the book" on MH370, adding that due consideration would be given to future searches if there was "new and credible information" on the aircraft's potential location.

Debris confirmed or believed to be from the MH370 aircraft has washed up along the African coast and on islands in the Indian Ocean.

Malaysian investigators previously drew no conclusion about what happened aboard the flight, but did not rule out the possibility that the aircraft had been deliberately taken off course.

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 with 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard, disappeared on March 8, 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing.

The crew of the Boeing 777-200ER registered as 9M-MRO, last communicated with air traffic control (ATC) around 38 minutes after takeoff when the flight was over the South China Sea.

The aircraft was lost from ATC radar screens minutes later, but was tracked by military radar for another hour, deviating westward from its planned flight path, crossing the Malay Peninsula and Andaman Sea.

Indonesian Air Force flight crew listen during a briefing at the Medan city military airbase on March 13, 2014 after conducting an aerial search over Malacca Strait, a sea passageway between Indonesia and Malaysia for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 plane. File picture: Atar/AFP

The disappearance of flight 370 was the deadliest incident involving a Boeing 777 and the deadliest in Malaysia Airlines' history until it was surpassed in both regards by Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.