Malaysia, China and Australia say they will suspend the search for the Malaysia Airlines passenger Flight MH370, which has been missing since 2014, if the aircraft is not found in the current search area.
Ministers from Malaysia, China and Australia met in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur on Friday to discuss the future of the underwater search in one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.
According to the statement issued to the next of kin of the victims, the ministers had reached the consensus that if the airliner is not discovered in the ongoing search area, and with no new credible evidence on its whereabouts, the search “would not end, but be suspended.”
The statement said that despite the best efforts put into the search, the likelihood of discovering the aircraft was fading.
Flight MH370, with 239 people aboard, disappeared during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to the Chinese capital of Beijing in March 2014.
Nearly $135 million has been spent on a massive search for the aircraft, spanning 120,000 square kilometers in the southern Indian Ocean, the most expensive in aviation history.
The search was originally scheduled to conclude in June, but has been hampered by bad weather.
“In the absence of new credible evidence, Malaysia, Australia and China have collectively agreed to suspend the search upon completion of the 120,000-kilometer search,” said Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.
“I must emphasize that this does mean we are giving up on the search for MH370,” said the official, without elaborating.