The underwater search for the Malaysian Airlines plane that disappeared in March 2014 has been called off and victims’ families have been informed that the effort to find the flight has come to an end, a statement said on Tuesday.
According to a joint statement by the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments, the hunt for MH370 was called off after the search of a 120,000 sq km stretch of the southern Indian Ocean failed to locate the missing plane, the Sydney Herald reported.
The next of kin were told the search had concluded without success. The efforts to find the missing flight, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, have been ongoing for nearly three years now, the Guardian reported.
“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft,” the statement said.
It said the decision to suspend the search was not “taken lightly”, and the three governments had considered all scientific research and study into the possible location of the missing aircraft in making the decision.
Earlier this month, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai rejected calls from relatives of passengers on board the flight to extend the search.
Authorities remained hopeful that new information would enable the Boeing 777 that disappeared in 2014 with 239 persons aboard to be found in the future.
The flight was carrying 152 Chinese nationals and 50 from Malaysia, as well as passengers from Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and the US.
Chandrika Sharma from Chennai was among those on board the flight.
“This decision appears premeditated and a betrayal of the commitment to the families that the governments are committed to the search,” K.S. Narendran, Chandrika’s husband, told the Guardian.
Voice370, a group representing the victims’ next of kin, accused the governments of being closed to the possibility of extending the search.
They appealed the governments to reconsider their decision.
The authorities were hopeful in March 2016 that the missing flight would be found in the 12,000 sq km stretch.
In July 2015 authorities had a breakthrough, when they found debris on the island of Reunion that was later confirmed to be a flaperon from the flight.