A privately funded search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is over. Four years after the plane went missing with more than 200 on-board, the fate of MH370 remains a mystery. But friends and family of the victims think more should be done.
CGTN’s Greg Navarro reports.
For more than 4 years, Jacquinta Gomes has lived with the pain of losing her husband Patrick, and the unanswered questions surrounding his death. “In my faith, I can have closure, but not when I don’t know what happened,” she said.
In March of 2014, Gomes was one of 239 people on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 bound for Beijing, which disappeared shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The Australian government led an extensive and expensive search across a 120,000 square kilometer section of the Southern Indian Ocean.
Despite the discovery of pieces of the aircraft, the search came up empty.
A second search was launched earlier this year by a private company on a “no find no fee” basis, but that too has failed to find the plane.
The initial search was based on the premise by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) that in MH370’s final moments, the plane was being flown by the autopilot, it ran out of fuel, and crashed into the ocean.
For more than four years, pilot Byron Bailey has insisted that efforts to find MH370 have focused on the wrong areas. That’s because Bailey and an increasing number of pilots believe the prevailing theory about what happened to the Boeing 777 has been incorrect from the start.
“When they had discovered that the aircraft had flown into the Southern Indian Ocean it had to be a pilot hijack because only a pilot can reprogram the sophisticated flight management system computers,” said Bailey.
Bailey and others also point to the discovery by the FBI that pilot Zaharie Shah had flown a disturbingly similar route on a home flight simulator to the one actually taken, only weeks before the ill-fated journey.
“You can easily say oh look, he was practicing his flying skills at home or keeping up to date but the coincidences are a little bit too strong,” said Peter Marosszeky, managing director of Aerospace Development
“He wanted to hide the aircraft in as remote position as possible. He didn’t want bits of debris floating around. He didn’t want it to ever be found,” Bailey said he believes.
Earlier this month, the head of the ATSB appeared before Australian lawmakers where he reluctantly acknowledged the pilot hijacking theory.
“So there is one possible – I’m not saying that it happened and I hate to speculate, but it’s at least one plausible scenario,” said Peter Foley of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
Jacquinta Gomes and many other family members want the Malaysian government to continue to search for MH370.
“This is not only about finding the plane, but also securing the fate of others who travel you know,” she said.
Malaysia’s government has said it plans to release a full report on the investigation into MH370’s disappearance but hasn’t given a date on when that will happen.
Michael Boyd discusses the failed search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Michael Boyd about lessons learned in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Boyd is the President of Boyd Group Aviation Consulting.