When Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared in March of 2014, many onlookers feared the worst. Even so, there remained some semblance of hope that the world would eventually learn the fate of Flight 370 and all aboard.
However, nearly a year later, the mystery surrounding what happened to the Malaysia Airlines jetliner remains.
After a lengthy and expensive search that spanned much of the south Indian Ocean, Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation released a statement to the press earlier today that the search for MH370 would come to an end.
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the department’s director, declared “with a heavy heart” that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was officially “an accident,” and that the search for remains or survivors had been called off.
“It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident. [A]ll 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.”
The declaration means that the grieving families of the missing crew and passengers will be able to be compensated for the presumed deaths of their loved ones. Azharuddin said that Malaysia Airlines was ready to begin taking compensation measures immediately.
The scaled back efforts are “frustrating” to “all who have tried their best in the search for MH370”, but with so much time passed and no clue as to the plane’s fate, there seems little else that can be done at this point. The department head said that the missing passengers “will always be remembered and honored.”
Although the official search and rescue mission ends, it’s reported that the underwater search for any possible wreckage linked to Flight MH370 will continue. In addition, other investigative methods will continue.
The international community still seeks to determine why the plane would go thousands of miles off route and crash into the Indian Ocean.
Vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Officially Declared An "Accident" http://t.co/QkDFGKzvzb
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Malaysia is also said to be looking into whether or not criminal behavior is responsible for the lost flight. Unfortunately, if there was foul play involved in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, it will be difficult to prove. The lack of physical evidence, particularly the missing flight recorders, has severely hindered ongoing investigative efforts.
As for how MH370 can be declared an accident with no real evidence as to its final fate, international aviation law states that the definition of accident includes situations where the aircraft is missing. Although the Malaysia Airlines jetliner has not been found, what few clues exist strongly suggest that the plane ran out of fuel over a remote portion of the Southern Indian Ocean.
While the flight is thought to be at the bottom of the ocean, the exact fate of everyone aboard Flight MH370 will likely remain unknown indefinitely. Sadly, this declaration means that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is set to join a number of other mysterious and tragic unsolved disappearances.
[Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]