As Australia, Malaysia and China jointly agreed on Tuesday to end the long-running search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, families of passengers lost on the doomed airliner were horrified to find the airline had posted a photo of two beaming pilots holding coffee cups with the caption: “Good morning from the cockpit! We wish you a great flight wherever you are today”.
The Australian newspaper reported that relatives of the six Australians lost when MH370 went missing on 8 March 2014, with 239 people aboard, considered the Facebook post exemplified the callous indifference of Malaysia Airlines, and its owner, the Malaysian government.
The search for the missing B777, possibly the widest ranging search ever conducted, was suspended on Tuesday – leaving the greatest mystery in aviation history unsolved, probably forever. See: MH370 search called off – plane likely lost forever
The airline told The Australian the timing of the Facebook posting and the announcement that the search was being called off was entirely coincidental.
The photo of the pilots was swiftly deleted.
In a comment on the Malaysia Airlines post before the picture was deleted, Peter Weeks, whose brother Paul was on MH370, wrote: “So shameful … Perhaps the slogan should be ‘We wish you a great flight, but can’t guarantee you’ll actually see your family ever again’.”
Paul Weeks’s widow, Danica, now a single mother to their sons Lincoln, 6, and Jack, 3, wrote: “The pilots wear Rolexs, they refuse to fund a further search for my husband, Best friend and father of two young boys … but hey you decide. It’s a crazy world when all morals and values go out the door!”
When The Australian contacted Malaysia Airlines over the post, the airline told the paper the post was part of an existing Facebook content strategy, which went live several hours before the joint statement announcing the end of the search.
The airline was unaware that the statement regarding the MH370 search would be made the same day.
Written by Peter Needham