The definition of “specific” is playing a key role in deciding whether the governments involved in the search for the missing Boeing 777 that operated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will end their involvement when the current 120,000 sq. km search area has been swept.
Two of the three governments have now rolled out the word in their response to a report by experts that there remains a high probability the wreckage is in a 25,000 sq. km area north of the current zone.
Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester signalled on Tuesday that he did not think the new 25,000 sq, km area was specific enough to meet the criteria set down by officials from the three governments — Malaysia, China and Australia — in July.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tong Lai was singing from the same hymn sheet when he said Malaysia retained its “aspiration" to locate MH370.
“While the report presented a thorough analysis of MH370 search efforts, we remain to be guided as to how this can be used to assist us in identifying the specific location of the aircraft,’’ Liow said.
“The Governments of Australia, Malaysia and People’s Republic of China during the Ministerial Tripartite meeting in July 2016 have agreed that consideration will be given in determining next steps should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the location of the aircraft.
“I wish to reiterate that the aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned and every decision made has and will always be in the spirit of cooperation among the three nations.’’
All three governments should bite the bullet and do the right thing for the families of the 239 passengers and crew lost with MH370.
Any government genuinely committed to finding the crashed Boeing 777 would search the area that the experts at November’s “First Principles Review” said should be searched.
The fact that the wreckage was not found in the first 120,000 sq. km search area may well mean we were looking in the wrong place but we were doing it for all the right reasons.
That was the place to which all the facts we had at the time pointed. Now there are new facts, including a drift study by the CSIRO, that says it may be in a different area.
Nor is this a finding group of a people who were dragged in off the street to voice their pet theory of what happened on that tragic night in 2014 when the plane veered off course.
These were experts from around the world who took a forensic look at every scrap of information on the missing plane and said it’s worth continuing the search into this new area.
They included Boeing 777 captains, representatives from accident investigators in the US, the UK and Malaysia as well as scientists, manufacturer Boeing and technology companies such as Inmarsat and Thales.
Once this area is area is searched, they’ve acknowledged, the possibilities suggested by what little evidence they have will be exhausted.
But until those possibilities are exhausted the victims’ families are entitled to be outraged that not everything has been done to locate the plane.