Malaysia PM ‘hopeful’ MH370 will be found, committed to search
MALAYSIA’S prime minister said Sunday his nation remained committed to the so-far fruitless hunt for flight MH370 exactly one year after it went missing, and was hopeful the plane would be found.
“Together with our international partners, we have followed the little evidence that exists. Malaysia remains committed to the search, and hopeful that MH370 will be found,” Najib Razak said in a statement to mark the anniversary of the plane’s disappearance.
A year-long, Australia-led search effort in the southern Indian Ocean where the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed has so far yielded no sign of the plane.
An independent team of investigators tasked with probing the mystery is to release an interim report on its findings on Sunday at 3.00 pm (0700 GMT) in Kuala Lumpur, the government said.
It remains unclear whether it will contain any new information on what might have caused the aircraft to disappear after veering from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route on March 8 of last year with 239 passengers and crew aboard.
“No words can describe the pain the families of those on board are going through,” Najib said, calling the plane’s disappearance “without precedent”.
“The lack of answers and definitive proof — such as aircraft wreckage — has made this more difficult to bear.”
Investigators still lack any trace of the jet, including the “black box” data recorders considered most likely to yield clues.
More than 40 percent of a designated 60,000-square-kilometre (23,000-square-mile) zone believed to be the most likely location of the crash site has been scanned for wreckage using sophisticated sonar, but nothing related to MH370 has been found.
The independent investigative team was set up in the weeks after the plane’s disappearance under International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirements.
Its report is considered only an “interim” one due to the lack of hard evidence.
Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told AFP in an interview on Saturday that the hunt for MH370 would be sent “back to the drawing board” if the current search zone comes up empty.
He said that meant satellite and other data used to determine the suspected crash region would have to be re-examined, but he would not specify what could happen next.
Many next of kin were deeply critical of Malaysia’s initial response to the crisis, saying that opportunities to intercept or track the plane were lost.
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