Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Six months later, still no answers

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - SEPTEMBER 8, 2014

Monday 8th of September marks exactly six months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which inspired a global effort to locate its wreckage and give closure to the families of those who were on board - yet still there are no answers.

The man leading the operation to find it has admitted investigators still have to consider around 1,000 possible flight paths it may have taken before crashing into the southern Indian Ocean. What is probably clear is that Flight 370 went down in a remote expanse of ocean.

Martin Dolan, the chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is coordinating the search, reportedly said his team faced an "intimidating" and "unprecedented" challenge as it prepared to launch a one-year offshore search operation that could cost up to £29.5 million.

Asked if he could guarantee that the plane's wreckage would be found, Dolan told The Telegraph: "I'd like to be that confident, but this is unprecedented.

"I don't want to raise the hopes of the families of the people who were lost in this accident and then dash them again. I don't want to create a false hope.

"But I don't want them to write it off either, because we do think we have a reasonable prospect. We just don't have a guarantee."

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in the early hours of March 8 as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were 227 passengers and 12 crew on board the Boeing 777.

Despite a massive multi-national search stretching from the Gulf of Thailand to the Bay of Bengal and, finally, the Indian Ocean, no trace of the plane, or even its black box, has been found. Following several false leads, an underwater search was suspended in late May while Australian and Chinese survey vessels built a map of the almost entirely unexplored depths of the Indian Ocean.

Now, six months after the biggest mystery in modern aviation history began, the search is about to recommence, with Australia and Malaysia recently agreeing to split a bill that could rise to A$52 million (£29.5 million). China, which had 153 citizens on the plane, is "reflecting" on what its role in operations and will play no immediate part.

The search, which has been contracted out to Fugro, a Dutch engineering firm that provides services to oil and gas companies, will see three vessels deployed over the coming weeks, according to the ATSB chief.

Photo caption: STILL A MYSTERY... Monday 8th of September marks exactly six months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which inspired a global effort to locate its wreckage and give closure to the families of those who were on board - yet still there are no answers.