Nearly 10 years after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, questions remain unanswered, and families of the missing and presumed dead are still seeking closure for their loved ones.
The 2014 disappearance is one of aviation’s most sinister mysteries. The Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8, 2014 and disappeared about 90 seconds after leaving Malaysian airspace, taking all 239 passengers on board without a trace.
A multi-year search began, and with it a confusing and complicated series of revelations and investigations, which to this day have produced no real conclusions. Malaysian authorities called off the search after three years, and subsequent search efforts were short-lived.
The families of the missing have pushed for a renewed search, citing advances in technology that could help locate larger parts of the plane or any new evidence that could help close them.
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“While the next of kin of the passengers and crew attempt to rebuild our lives, the threat to global aviation safety remains a live issue,” Voice370, a group of relatives of MH370 passengers, said in a statement.
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“As long as we remain in the dark about what happened to MH370, we will never be able to prevent a tragedy like this. Accordingly, we believe it is of paramount importance that until the search for MH370 is complete be done.”
A new Netflix documentary examines the timeline of the plane’s disappearance, speaking with some of the key voices and players involved in the immediate response and subsequent search for the plane.
The documentary, released on the anniversary of the plane’s disappearance, also revives some of the more bizarre theories about what happened to the plane.
Following its disappearance, the aircraft emitted several “pings” that were recorded and tracked over the immediate six hours by the London-based satellite firm Inmarsat.
The pings allowed the company to confirm that the aircraft retreated over Malaysia before a final ping somewhere over the Indian Ocean. After this the mystery deepened. Inmarsat used the data to determine that the aircraft flew south over the Indian Ocean rather than along the coast north of continental Asia.
In later years, Blaine Gibson, a self-described hobbyist “adventurer,” found several pieces of aircraft that had washed up on islands around the Indian Ocean that airline officials say were consistent with a Boeing 777. And he determined this as sufficient proof that the plane went down because no other plane has been reported missing in the intervening years. It’s the closest to confirmation they believe the families will get.
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The documentary covers three main theories about what happened, each largely disproved or cast doubt on later evidence. One theory suggests that the pilot planned to hijack the plane and kill himself and all the passengers on board. Another says the plane was hijacked by Russian intelligence officers. A third theory says that the US jammed the plane’s communications and somehow grounded it.
In the documentary, Blaine rejected any theory of a country intervening and covering up his actions as this would require the rival countries of the US, China and Russia to cooperate, which was deemed impossible.
Jeff Wise, a journalist and prominent figure in the investigation into the plane’s disappearance, first proposed and reiterated the Russian hijacking theory. He further indirectly speculated in the Netflix documentary that Blaine could be acting in Russia’s interests, which Blaine said would constitute defamation for the “serious” claims.
What is clear is that very few people can agree on what happened to the plane. But the hope of getting some answer – any answer with solid evidence to support it – is strong for both those who have spent years searching for solutions and those who never saw their loved ones come home.
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Oliver Plunkett, chief executive of US-based marine robotics company Ocean Infinity, said: “At this stage, we are unable to say with certainty when the new discovery will occur as discussions are ongoing and there is still a lot of work to be done.” told The Guardian.
“We will work hard and do our best to accomplish this, subject to the support of the Malaysian government,” he said. “I’m pretty sure that’s a realistic ambition.”
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