Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 mysteriously disappeared more than 10 months ago, and since then, a wide range of conspiracy theories about the missing plane's fate have appeared and flown around the internet and even sometimes in the mainstream media. But none of the bizarre theories will stop the search for the vanished Boeing 777-200 -- with its 238 missing passengers and crew, a top Malaysian government official said Saturday.
In fact, Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that the international search team was planning to add a fourth ship to the fleet of three now combing the Indian Ocean for any trace of the plane, which investigators believe went down in those remote and treacherous waters, after flying seven hours and thousands of miles off of its planned course between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
"It is not an easy task in view of the tremendous depth, and it will take time," Liow told reporters. "But Malaysia will not give up hope despite these swirling conspiracy theories. Those who are hungry for MH370 information should get it from a reliable source and from authenticated social media posting."
While various conspiracy theories, including some proposed by officials and former executives at other airlines, have suggested that somehow, the Malaysian government secretly knows what happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight and is covering up the information. The truth, according to Liow, is that Malaysia and the other countries involved in the search are looking harder than ever for Flight MH370.
"In fact, the search has been intensified with more assets, including search vessels deployed by Malaysia and Australia in the Indian Ocean," Liow said. "We're taking the depth to 6,000 meters in one of the most complex oceans in the world."
Six-thousand meters is the equivalent of about 3.7 miles.
Liow also said that searchers expect to add a new ship to the Indian Ocean Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search, joining the three that continue to look for the plane using high-tech equipment that searches the ocean floor even at extreme depths, the Go Phoenix, Fugro Discovery, and Fugro Equator.
"We are engaging in efforts to add another vessel, Fugro Supporter," Liow said. "When the time is right, we will announce."
Liow emphasized the difficulty of searching for a plane in the Indian Ocean, noting that finding the AsiaAir plane that crashed on December 28 was also difficult even though conditions of the search were not nearly as harsh.
"Those spreading such (conspiracy theories) should remember that even search and rescue work for Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was tough although the depth of the crash, the bottom of Java Sea, is about 45 meters," Liow said.
That 45-meter depth equals only about 150 feet — well short of the nearly four-mile depth where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is believed to lie.