Search for MH370 to be suspended if no new leads
There are only 10,000 sq km to go in the 120,000 sq km search area and there is still no sign of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Malaysia, Australia and China have agreed to suspend the search if the aircraft is not discovered after the search zone is completely scoured.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that with less than 10,000 sq km left to be covered, the search will not continue unless "new credible evidence" is found, reported The Star.
The joint decision was made in a tripartite meeting in Putrajaya, involving Mr Liow, China's Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang and Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
"In the absence of new credible evidence, we have collectively decided to suspend the search upon the completion of the 120,000 sq km search area," said Mr Liow at a joint press conference.
"I must emphasise that this does not mean that we have given up on locating MH370. If any new credible evidence emerges, the three countries will continue to work together to analyse the evidence."
He also said cost was not a factor in deciding to suspend the search.
He noted that all data and information collected from the search would be released to the public, but that "this needs time for compiling".
Meanwhile, various media reported yesterday that the plane's pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, conducted a simulation of a similar path just weeks prior, using an elaborate home-built flight simulator to steer himself over the Strait of Malacca and into the remote southern Indian ocean - a course with striking resemblance to the route MH370 is believed to have taken.
The finding, which casts a shadow of suspicion over the 53-year-old pilot, was first published Friday by New York magazine, which obtained a confidential document from Malaysian police investigating the incident.
According to the document, the FBI recovered deleted data points from the flight simulator on Zaharie's hard drive. "We found a flight path that leads to the Southern Indian Ocean, among the numerous other flight paths charted on the flight simulator, that could be of interest," the document said.