Search operations for MH370, the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared mysteriously over the Indian Ocean in 2014, are in the final week, the country’s government has informed a Pune-based man whose wife was on board the aircraft.
“Today I received an email from the Malaysian government informing that the search operation is in the final week,” Prahlad Shirsath said, PTI reported. Shirsath added that he would never give up hope that some news would emerge one day about the aircraft. The family has already received the death certificate of his wife, Kranti Shirsath, from the Malaysian government, the report cited him as saying.
The email from the authorities added: “We hope that Ocean Infinity would be able to find the aircraft. We will continue to engage the authorities to get more updates on this, including what happens next, and will keep you informed.”
Kranti Shirsath was among five Indians who were on aboard the plane on March 8, 2014, when it lost all contact with the ground. The four other Indians were Vinod Kolekar, Chetana Kolekar, Swanand Kolekar and Chandrika Sharma. A total of 239 people were on board the flight, which was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The Malaysian government had engaged American exploration company Ocean Infinity Limited to investigate the whereabouts of the plane, after the initial search came up with little and was called off after 1,046 days. The international efforts cost about $160 million. Ocean Infinity then signed a “no find, no fee” contract with the Malaysian government. After 90 days of search focusing on a 15,500 sq. mi. area of sea off the western coast of Australia, the operation ended without any conclusive finding. Upon the government’s request, the search was then further extended until May 29, the email said, according to the report.
The government would not be interested in further extension of the search project after May 29, Malaysia’s Minister for Transport Anthony Loke Siew Fook said on May 23, CNN reported. The multi-million dollar search so far has yielded debris from the plane scattered off the western coast of Africa, Madagascar, and the Reunion island.
“Since the plane went missing four years ago, this is the fifth or sixth search operation to trace its remains. Every time it begins, we have new hope, which turns into despair eventually,” Shirsath was quoted as saying by the news agency. The Malaysian government sends weekly updates about the search operation to the family members of all the missing passengers, he said.
“Even if the present search operation is likely to end on May 29, I am hopeful that someday we will hear about the missing plane,” Shirsath said. “We, the families of the missing passengers, still appeal to Malaysian government to continue the search.”