MH370: Still clinging to hope after a year

MH370: Still clinging to hope after a year
A board bearing solidarity messages is seen during a gathering to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur on March 6, 2015.

PETALING JAYA: One year on, the hunt for MH370 goes on but the questions seem to have multiplied as the days go by.

When the aircraft went missing, many rushed to look for answers.

Chaos filled the vacuum of information, as reports came about an emergency landing in China, a crash off the Vietnam coast, supposed oil slicks and debris.

Some families who called their loved ones' mobile phones still got ringing tones.

Conspiracy theories abounded. It flew to an American base, fell into a black hole, a different dimension. One theory suggested alien abduction.

Candlelight vigils were held across the country, billboards and posters emerged everywhere urging for prayers.

The day it vanished, one ship and three aircraft went to look for the plane in the South China Sea.

A week on, it would be joined by 13 countries with 43 ships and 58 aircraft searching the seas and an ocean.

Even Internet users were mobilised, poring over millions of satellite-taken images of the search areas.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced that MH370 had veered off its flight path, before disappearing over the southern Indian Ocean.

Currently, four ships using a variety of sophisticated equipment, are looking for signs of the wreckage on the ocean floor.

The vessels have so far searched 43 per cent of the 60,000 square-kilometre priority area.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the families deserved answers and they were doing all they could to provide the relief.

"Locating the plane and its flight recorders offers the best hope of finding answers to the mystery of what happened and help to bring some comfort and closure to all those who have lost loved ones," he said in statement to mark the tragic disappearance.

He reiterated that the governments of Australia, Malaysia and remained committed to the search.

"A year on, our collective resolve for answers remains steadfast."

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) director Peter Foley, who is leading the task force, remained confident they were searching in the right area and the aircraft would eventually be found.

"I know at some point I'll get a call in the middle of the night," said Foley to The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday.

Foley said ATSB even had a plan ready to recover the wreckage.

"We have a pre-packaged plan, ready to roll when we find MH370 on the seafloor," he said.

Transport Minster Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is also cautiously optimistic the plane would be found in the priority search area.

He had assured the affected families that the search would continue beyond May, if necessary.

"By the end of May, if we still can't find the plane, we will have to go back to the drawing board," he said.

Many of the next-of-kin have not given up and are still clinging on to the hope that their loved ones are still alive, somewhere.

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