Questions remain unanswered nearly 10 years after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, and families of the missing and presumed dead are still seeking closure for their loved ones.
The 2014 disappearance remains one of aviation’s most vexing mysteries. The Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on March 8, 2014 and disappeared about 90 seconds after leaving Malaysian airspace with all 239 passengers apparently missing without a trace.
A multi-year search ensued, and with it a confusing and complicated series of revelations and investigations that, to this day, have reached no real conclusion. Malaysian authorities called off the search after three years, and subsequent search efforts have been short-lived.
Families of the missing have pushed for a renewed search, citing technological advances that could help locate most of the plane or any new evidence that could help them find closure.
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“As the next of kin of passengers and crew on board try to rebuild our lives, the threat to global aviation security remains a live issue,” said Voice370, a group of relatives of passengers in the MH370, 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 avoid a similar tragedy. Accordingly, we believe it is a matter of great importance that the search for MH370 is carried out to completion .
A new Netflix documentary examined the timeline of the plane’s disappearance, speaking with some of the most prominent voices and actors 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 strangest theories about what happened to the plane.
After its disappearance, the plane emitted several “pings” that the London-based satellite company Inmarsat recorded and tracked for the next six hours.
The pings allowed the company to confirm that the plane turned back over Malaysia before the final ping somewhere in the Indian Ocean. After that, the mystery deepened. Inmarsat used the data to determine that the plane flew south into the Indian Ocean, rather than heading north over mainland Asia.
In the following years, Blaine Gibson, a self-described “adventurer,” found several pieces of the plane washed up on islands around the Indian Ocean that aviation authorities say were consistent with the Boeing 777. And they determined that 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 the families think they’ll get.
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The documentary covers three main theories about what happened, each largely disproved or called into question by the evidence that followed. One theory suggests that the pilot planned to kill himself and all the passengers on board by hijacking the plane. Another says Russian intelligence agents hijacked the plane. 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 because it would require the cooperation of rival nations the US, China and Russia, which was deemed impossible.
Jeff Wise, a journalist and leading figure in the amateur investigation into the plane’s disappearance, first proposed the Russian hijacking theory and appeared to double down on it. He also indirectly speculated in the Netflix documentary that Blaine may have acted in Russia’s interests, which Blaine said would amount to defamation for “serious” claims.
What is clear is that few people can agree on what happened to the plane. But hope for an answer—any answer with concrete evidence to back it up—remains strong, both for those who have spent years searching for a solution and for those who never saw their loved ones come home.
“At this stage, we cannot definitively say when a new search will take place as discussions are ongoing, and there is still a lot of work to be done,” Oliver Plunkett, chief executive of the US marine robotics company United Ocean Infinity. he told The Guardian.
“We will work hard and do our best to make this happen, with the support of the Malaysian government,” he said. “I fully believe that is a realistic ambition.”