With today marking the second anniversary of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, three developments have occurred: a third piece of potential debris from the aircraft has been found; relatives of some of the 239 passengers and crew on the doomed flight are suing the airline; and other relatives insist the search must continue.
The families of 12 passengers on MH370 were reported yesterday to be filing lawsuits before a two-year deadline for legal action expires today.
Suits have been filed in Australian, US, Chinese and Malaysian courts over the past few weeks, Reuters has reported.
The families of a Russian, a Chinese and eight Malaysian passengers are suing the Malaysian government, Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Department director-general and the Malaysian air force. The families of two Ukrainian passengers have reportedly filed suits in the Malaysian High Court against the airline.
Meanwhile, a third piece of debris has reportedly been found (see photo). A second piece, found last week off the African coast, is being brought to Australia for investigation (see: Suspected new MH370 debris to be brought to Australia)
Buoyed by the finds, relatives have renewed their insistence that the two-year search for the missing plane must continue beyond this June, which was set as the deadline. Only one piece of debris has ever been confirmed as coming from MH370 – a wing ‘flaperon’ found on Reunion Island last July.
The search so far has covered 120,000 square kilometres of seabed off Australia’s west coast at a cost of about AUD 170 million.
The third potential piece of wreckage from MH370 was reportedly recovered last week on Reunion island. It has raised hopes that the greatest mystery in the history of aviation may one day be solved.
The latest fragment was found by Johnny Bègue, foreman of the same team that came across the flaperon, confirmed as belonging to MH370, on a Reunion Island beach last July.
Meanwhile, Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester last week openly raised the possibility that the mystery of MH370 may never be solved.
“Regrettably, the aircraft may never be found and we may never know what happened,” Chester admitted.
Chester also told Parliament, however: “The Australian government is working systematically and intensively to locate the aircraft, together with our search partners, Malaysia and China. We have utilised the skills of international experts to identify the most likely resting place of the aircraft and are using cutting edge technology to scour the ocean floor. Around 90,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched so far – of a total search area of 120,000 square kilometres.
“Through our collective efforts, we hope to locate the aircraft and give some comfort to the families and friends of those on board and help us understand what happened to flight MH370.”
Written by Peter Needham