On Wednesday, the Australian government made it clear that it was not ruling out a future underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, but added there was currently no credible new evidence to warrant that, according to a joint statement from Chinese, Australian and Malaysian officials.
The three countries had been leading the search for MH370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board.
“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft,” the statement said.
“The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness.”
“I don’t rule out a future underwater search by any stretch,” Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester told reporters in Melbourne, a day after the tripartite group of Australia, Malaysia and China officially called off the search in the southern Indian Ocean.
However, Voice370, a support group for family members of those aboard the flight, released a statement expressing their disappointment. The families of passengers on board the Boeing 777, which disappeared en route to Beijing from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board, have criticised the decision to halt the search.
They said “Commercial planes cannot just be allowed to disappear without a trace,” the statement said.
“Stopping at this stage is nothing short of irresponsible, and betrays a shocking lack of faith in the data, tools and recommendations of an array of official experts assembled by the authorities themselves.”