Malaysia may renew search for MH370 a decade after flight disappeared

MH370 disappeared in March 2014 and is believed to have crashed over the Indian Ocean, but there have been few clues to provide proof.
A woman writes well messages on a message board during a remembrance event for MH370.
Posted at 9:53 PM, Mar 04, 2024

Malaysian officials said Sunday they may renew the hunt for MH370, after a U.S. company that tried to find the plane in 2018 proposed a fresh search in the southern Indian Ocean where the Malaysia Airlines plane is believed to have crashed a decade ago.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said he would invite Texas-based marine robotics firm Ocean Infinity to brief him on its latest "no find, no fee" proposal. The government has long said it would not support another search without new leads on the plane's location.

If the evidence is credible, he said, he will seek the Malaysian Cabinet's approval to sign a new contract to resume the search.

"The government is steadfast in our resolve to locate MH370," Loke said at a memorial event marking the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of the jet. "We really hope the search can find the plane and provide truth to the next-of-kin."

The Boeing 777 plane vanished from radar shortly after taking off on March 8, 2014, carrying 239 people, mostly Chinese nationals, on a flight from Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Satellite data showed the plane deviated from its flight path to head over the southern Indian Ocean, where it is believed to have crashed.

An expensive multinational search failed to turn up any clues, although debris washed ashore on the east African coast and Indian Ocean islands. A private search in 2018 by Ocean Infinity also found nothing.

A mysterious object washed ashore in Australia. Can you identify it?
Mysterious object washes ashore in Australia

A mysterious object washed ashore in Australia. Can you identify it?

The bronze-colored cylindrical object was discovered on Saturday near Jurien Bay in Western Australia.


The tragedy sparked moves to bolster aviation safety.

V.P.R. Nathan, a member of the Voice MH370 next-of-kin group, said Ocean Infinity initially planned a search last year but it was delayed by the delivery of a new fleet. It is now on track to resume the hunt, he said.

Ocean Infinity CEO Oliver Punkett told the New Straits Times that the company had improved its technology since 2018.

"We now feel in a position to be able to return to the search for MH370," he told the English-language daily. "We've been working with many experts, some outside of Ocean Infinity, to continue analyzing the data in the hopes of narrowing the search area down to one in which success becomes potentially achievable."

Loke declined to reveal the fee proposed by Ocean Infinity if it finds the plane, saying it is subject to negotiation. He said cost is not an issue and that he doesn't foresee any hindrances for the search.

Loke's response sparked tears of joy in some family members at the memorial, held in a mall in a Kuala Lumpur suburb.

"I'm on top of the world," said Jacquita Gomes, whose husband was a flight attendant on the plane. She said she is thankful that she may now have a chance for full closure and to say a final goodbye.

"We have been on a roller coaster for the last 10 years. ... If it is not found, I hope that it will continue with another search," she said.

Family members of passengers from Malaysia, Australia, China and India paid tribute to their loved ones during the event, lighting a candle on stage to remember them.

"No matter if it is 10 years, 20 years or more, as long as we are still alive ... we will not cease to press for the truth. We believe the truth will eventually come to light," said Bai Zhong, from China, whose wife was on the plane.