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Hopes dashed as search for Malaysian aircraft MH370 may be suspended

The announcement dealt a blow to some of the family members whose loved ones disappeared with the airplane. In image: A search operation under way. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Kuala Lumpur Jul 23, 2016, 07.00 AM (IST)
The search for the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 is to be suspended according to the Chinese, Australian, and Malaysian transport ministers, who announced the statement on Friday in Kuala Lumpur.

The ministers said in the announcement that investigators have examined 90 per cent of the probable crash sites around the Indian Ocean, and if no significant evidence is found in the remaining 10 per cent, the search will be suspended.

"Today in our tripartite meeting, and in the absence of creditable new evidence, Australia, China and Malaysia have collectively decided to suspend the search upon the completion of the 120,000 square kilometer search area," said Dato Sri Liow Tiong Lai, the Malaysian transport minister.

The three countries have conducted a search, lasting almost two and a half years since the plane disappeared from radar screens while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 passengers and crew on board.

The Australian transport minister Darren Chester delivered his condolences to the family members of the passengers on board the aircraft.

"Today's announcement is very significant not only for our three countries, but more importantly for the family and friends of those on board the aircraft. I take this opportunity on behalf of all Australians, to honor the memory of the passengers and the crew on board MH370 and acknowledge the enormous loss felt by their loved ones," he said.

The announcement dealt a blow to some of the family members whose loved ones disappeared with the airplane.

"What happen on the plane it could have been prevented, and now they’re talking about a possible glide landing and if it was a controlled ditching and it was something to do with terrorism then you want to know what’s happening. Cause no one came up and made a claim, could be all part of some bigger plan we don't know, and what we need to find out is to recover the plane look at the black boxes," said Grace Nathan, daughter of a passenger.

The three ministers said that the announcement does not mean the three countries are giving up, and the search will resume if new, credible evidence surfaces.

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