Four years on, none the wiser and families continue to suffer

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The very little new ‘final’ report into vanished flight MH370 is necessary but useless without wreckage.

Even as the 1,500-page report, made public today, revealed the doomed passenger jet was under manual control and likely diverted from its flight path deliberately, angry relatives say answers were not forthcoming.

Imagine how torturous it is for the disconsolate families not knowing what happened on March 8, 2014 when the plane from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing plunged into the Indian Ocean killing 239 people.

International media reported that some family members were so furious that they stormed out of a private briefing ahead of the official release of the report.

Grace Nathan, whose mother was on the Boeing 777, expressed her frustration at the substance of today’s report.

“After 4.5 years of investigation the conclusion … is:

1. We don’t know what happened.

2. We don’t know why it happened.

3. We don’t know how it happened.

4. We don’t know what if anything is going to be done about it.”

She described:
• The failure of Malaysian air traffic control to follow procedures as “mind-boggling”.

She vented dismay:
• The aircraft was deemed to have no issues, except that one of the underwater locator beacons had an expired battery.

“Yet there is no explanation why none of four transmitters on the plane sent any distress signal.

“But apparently these transmitters, which are on every single plane, only work 22 per cent of the time.”

“Four years on, we are none the wiser.”

“Just because they call it a final report doesn’t mean it’s over for the next of kin.

“The search must go on. There can be no final report until MH370 is found,” she wrote on Facebook.

MH370
The 10 MH370 debris found to date. Graphics: Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.

China national Wen Wancheng, whose son was on the plane told The Guardian: “It’s nothing more than a formality. I don’t think we are able to learn any more details, or what exactly happened.

“What I want is to find and punish all the people who are responsible for MH370.”

Another Chinese national, Jiang Hui, whose mother was on the flight, said: “What I care about is how the International Civil Aviation Organisation and authorities will analyse this report to adjust and improve their work to find out what happened to MH370.

“This report is just the start for me, not an end.”

Most of the passengers on MH370 were from China and the release of the report was widely followed in Chinese media.

On the microblog, Weibo, it was the sixth most viewed topic, with more than two million views.

Authorities have refused to call it the “final” report, saying that was impossible while the mystery remained unsolved.

“If the wreckage has not been found, if no victims have been found, how can we call our report the final report?” said Kok Soo Chon, chief investigator of the MH370 safety investigation.

But the search has ended and there are no plans to resume it, given the colossal cost.

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