As the Flight MH370 search in a desolate and hostile reach of the southern Indian Ocean continued to produce no solid evidence that the missing Malaysia Airlines plane actually crashed there, Malaysia’s top transportation official offered families a slim ray of hope that their loved ones may still be alive.
Hope For Survivors Remote, But Not Abandoned
Hishammuddin Hussein, the country’s acting transport minister who more than any other single official has been the public face of the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, met with relatives of the passengers on board what was supposed to have been a routine Kuala Lumpur to Beijing hop, and told them that until the plane is actually found, there is a least a tiny hope that there may be survivors out there somehwere.
“Even hoping against hope, no matter how remote, of course, we are praying and we will continue our search for the possible survivors,” said Hishammuddin Saturday. “More than that, I told the families I cannot give them false hope. The best we can do is pray and that we must be sensitive to them that, as long as there is even a remote chance of a survivor, we will pray and do whatever it takes.”
His offer of even the slimmest possibility of hope contradicts a flat declaration made early in the week by Malaysia’s Prime Minister, who definitively stated that “all lives were lost” in the watery crash of Flight MH370.
Objects Retrieved From Ocean, But Are They From Flight MH370?
Also Saturday, for the first time in the frustrating search, ships actually pulled objects out of the water that may be debris from Flight MH370.
On the other hand, they may not.
“So far no objects confirmed to be related to MH370 have been recovered,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said in a statement. The Indian Ocean, like all the oceans of the world, is littered with objects and debris from passing ships and smaller vessels.
And with the fast-moving currents especially in the part of the world where the search is taking place, any piece of of material recovered could have already floated hundreds or thousands of miles from wherever it entered the water.
Families Made Three Requests Of Transport Minister
According to Hishammuddin, the families made three requests of him. They asked that SAR — Search and Rescue — operations continue as long as needed, that the hunt for survivors of Flight MH370 never be abandoned as long as there was even the slightest hope, and finally, that the Malaysian government establish more open lines of communication with them.
“This is what the families asked and I don’t think it is unreasonable,” said the transport minister, describing his meeting with Flight MH370 relatives. “I’ve said from the beginning that even if there is a remote chance of finding survivors, we will do whatever it takes.”