The search for missing flight MH370 will be suspended if the current operation in the Indian Ocean fails to find the plane. But a statement issued to relatives said for the first time that despite the best efforts of the search operation, the likelihood of finding the aircraft was now fading. Ministers from Malaysia, China and Australia met in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the future of the search in one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. It has been agreed that if the plane is not found in the current search area and, without any new information about its possible location, the hunt for the plane “would not end, but be suspended”.
With less than 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 square miles) of the high priority search area remaining to be searched, ministers acknowledged that despite the best efforts of all involved the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading
MH370 disappeared during a flight from the Malaysian capital to Beijing in March 2014, with 239 people on board. It is believed to have turned back and dropped into the Indian Ocean west of Australia, where the search has been concentrated. The families of the missing passengers and crew have called for the operation to continue, even though more than £100m has been spent on an underwater search spanning 120,000 sq km in the southern Indian Ocean, the most expensive operation in aviation history. A few pieces of debris confirmed to be from a Boeing 777 have washed up on islands thousands of miles from the search zone.
The suspension does not mean the termination of the search. Ministers reiterated that the aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned