by WorldTribune Staff, May 29, 2018
The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has ended after four years with no answers on why the plane went down or where its final resting place is. Early suggestions of a possible terrorist connection focused on Al Qaida in Pakistan and an oppressed Muslim minority in China.
In January, U.S.-based Ocean Infinity began using a deep-sea vessel to survey a vast area of the southern Indian Ocean, but deteriorating weather this month made operating in the area impossible and the search was called off, the BBC reported on May 29.
Ocean Infinity’s search yielded no results and Malaysia’s government says it has no plans to begin any new searches.
The plane disappeared on March 8, 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Grace Nathan, whose mother was on MH370, said she was opposed to ending the hunt.
“People might think: ‘Why are these people still harping on about this, it’s been four years’. It’s important for people to remember that MH370 is not history,” she told the Guardian newspaper.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which departed for Beijing on March 8, 2014, lost contact less than an hour after take-off, with no distress signal or message sent. Initial search efforts focus on the South China Sea.
Other reports following the plane’s disappearance put the MH370 in Pakistan or possibly being hijacked by Uyghur separatists from China.
A March 21, 2014 report by the Langley Intelligence Network Group (LIGNET.com) noted that “ten days after the flight vanished, LIGNET learned that engineers at Boeing, the plane’s manufacturer, believed the missing aircraft was on the ground in Pakistan. For several reasons, including Al Qaida’s presence there, historical attack patterns, corruption, weakness and terrorist sympathies at the highest levels inside Pakistan, that hunch may be right.”
The report continued: “The absence of wreckage suggests a planned diversion, the kidnapping of 230 passengers and obvious ill intent.”
Newsmax.com, which published LIGNET, suspended publication of the intelligence service in late 2014.
WorldTribune.com’s LIFE section reported on March 13, 2014 that “Two weeks ago, 34 people were killed and 130 injured in a mass stabbing attack at the Kunming railway station in Yunnan, China. Reports said as many as 10 black-clad assailants wielding knives and machetes attacked people at random. The event caused shock in China and around the world, with many referring to it as the ‘Chinese 9/11.’ Just days before, an Al Qaida-affiliated group released a video threatening China. And this week, that video gained much greater significance, when Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared without a trace.”
The report continued: “Chinese social media networks were immediately abuzz with speculation over the possibility that that Uyghur separatists are responsible” for MH370’s disappearance.
“The Uyghurs have been implicated in a previous hijacking attempt. In June 2012, the Chinese government claimed that six Uyghur men attempted to hijack a Chinese domestic flight. The World Uyghur Congress rejected the government’s account and claimed that the incident was in fact a dispute that broke out over seating arrangements.”
In March 2015 evidence emerged that the plane was diverted to the south and the focus of the search switched to the Indian Ocean.
In July 2015, a large piece of debris washed ashore on Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.
In January 2017 the governments of Australia, Malaysia and China announced they were suspending the official search after failing to find anything in the area thought to be the plane’s final resting place.
In January 2018, amid pressure from relatives, Malaysia signed a deal with Ocean Infinity, a private company, to resume the search.