After more than two years of searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, officials now doubt they even have been looking in the right part of the vast Indian Ocean. There is the likelihood of suspending the enormously expensive search unless fresh evidence gives a better indication of the plane’s resting place.
If they do give up the search, officials never should stop seeking new evidence that could jump-start it again. That’s the least that can be done for the families of the 239 people on board. They have had no answers of any kind.
While the plane’s fate remains unknown, one point is clear: All international airliners should be required to carry sophisticated location monitoring and recording equipment so there’s a better chance of finding them if something goes awry. Malaysia Airlines has been criticized for having less sophisticated equipment than some other airlines.
Flight 370 It veered off of its flight path and traveled for hours after its last contact with air traffic controllers, then vanished without hint of a mechanical problem or other trouble on board. Theories about the plane’s fate abound, with some speculating that the captain intentionally crashed the plane into the ocean.
At a cost of $160 million, Australia, Malaysia and China have been scouring a 46,000-square-foot area west of Australia, a search area based on an analysis of satellite data. However, last week, officials said a re-examination of that data and an analysis of new ocean drift data indicated that the plane’s location might be farther north instead. Without more precise information, however, they are reluctant to begin a new phase of the search.
Families previously have expressed concern that suspending the search essentially would mean throwing in the towel. That must not be the case. Investigators should continue seeking clues that might prompt a new search and crack what has been called one of aviation’s grimmest secrets.