Asia

Flight MH370 victims’ families plan private search for airplane

Paul Tilsley reports from Johannesburg

 

Grieving family members of passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 said Saturday they will raise funds to resume the hunt for the aircraft.

The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board vanished on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and no one has been able to say what happened to the aircraft, despite a massive $160 million deep-sea sonar search in the Indian Ocean, the largest in aviation history.

What happened to the flight “should not go down in history books as a mystery,” said Jacquita Gomes, whose husband was a flight attendant on MH370, according to Sky News.

Gomes and other family members are hoping to raise $15 million to fund an initial search north of the previous search area, Reuters reports. They announced the fundraising campaign in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Australia, Malaysia and China jointly called off the search operation in January.

"We won't start fundraising until we're sure that the governments are not going to resume the search and until the current data has been fully reviewed and analyzed," Grace Nathan, a Malaysian lawyer whose mother, Anne Daisy, was on the plane, said, according to Reuters.

In July 2015 part of the airplane's wing was found on Reunion Island, Sky News reported. So far more than 20 objects either confirmed or believed to be from the jet have washed ashore on beaches in Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Madagascar.

Most of the debris has been turned over to French and Australian authorities.

Jiang Hui, whose mother was on the plane, discovered a piece of potential MH370 debris in Madagascar last year.

“I thought it was very miraculous and fortunate when I found the piece of debris that day, but I thought it was useless because this sort of searching activity should have been done by the government,” she said, according to Sky News.

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"It should not be us, the family members, who should have been subjected to this pain, to go and face this cruel reality."

A number of theories abound as to the plane's fate, including a fire on board, hijacking or terror plot, rogue pilot action and mechanical or structural failure, Sky News reports.

A final report on the plane's disappearance will be released this year.