It has been three years since the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people on it.
Today the Australian, Chinese, and Malaysian governments announced they would stop the search. They have already spent $150 million searching through a huge swath of the ocean floor west of Australia — that is 46,000 square miles wide and 16,000 feet deep in some areas.
It costs about $80,000 a day to continue to fund search teams — using satellites and sonar devices — and after three years and no new clues or leads to where the plane is, it seems to be a closed case from the governments’ perspective. It is expected that more teams will continue the search independently, just not at the expense of countries’ governments. Australia said they would release undersea mapping and sonar data so others can re-examine the information.
There have been several pieces of the plane that have washed ashore in various countries — the largest a piece of aircraft wing found on an island near Madagascar (Africa). It was confirmed to be from MH370. But there was nothing found from the actual search and mapping — no suitcases, no pieces of the plane on the ocean floor, nothing.
Some of the families of those who died (12 crew and 227 passengers from 15 different countries —including 3 Americans, 153 Chinese, 50 Malaysian, and 6 Australians— say they shouldn’t put a value on 239 human lives and that they should continue to search other areas to understand what happened, what caused the plane to crash.
The plane left Malaysia on March 8, 2014 shortly after midnight, headed for Beijing, China. It lost contact with air traffic control less than a hour into the flight. Military radar picked up the flight and it appeared to turn backwards then westward, then disappeared. It was on autopilot at the time. There have been various theories on what caused it to crash, but none has been officially accepted.
It’s still a mystery — and hopefully someone, sometime in the future, will be able to find the wreckage and provide some answers.