The latest search undertaken by Ocean Infinity, a private Texas-based company for ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has come to an end with no trace of the aircraft.
The Malaysia Airlines flight went missing after leaving Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, including the crew. It was headed for Beijing, but deviated from the flight path, according to radar and satellite data.
Investigators believe the Boeing 777 plane came down somewhere in the remote southern Indian Ocean. Oliver Plunkett, Ocean Infinity’s chief executive, said the outcome was “extremely disappointing.”
“Part of our motivation for renewing the search was to try to provide some answers to those affected. It is therefore with a heavy heart that we end our current search without having achieved that aim,” he said.
“During the course of its operation, Ocean Infinity searched and collected high-quality data from over 112,000sq km of ocean floor successfully overcoming both challenging conditions and terrain,” a company statement said.
The latest private search started in January after an agreement with the Malaysian government under a “no find, no fee” $70mn deal with the initial target of covering some 25,000sq km. The deadline was extended twice.
The massive search of the sea floor covered almost the same area as the previous Australia led underwater sonar search, which was suspended in January 2017 after two and half years of scouring more than 120,000 sq km.
Plunkett said the team was “proud of what we have achieved both in terms of the quality of data we’ve produced and the speed with which we covered such a vast area.”
“We sincerely hope that we will be able to again offer our services in the search for MH370 in future,” he said.
Earlier, Australia’s deputy prime minister said he was holding out hope that the plane may one day be found. Michael McCormack, also a transport minister, said the four year search had been the largest in aviation history, testing the limits of technology as well as the capacity of experts and people at sea. “We will always remain hopeful that one day the aircraft will be located,” McCormack said in a statement.