The search for MH370 has been suspended with the last vessel departing from the 120,000km² search area in the Indian Ocean.
A joint statement from the three governments involved in the search – Malaysia, Australia, and China – says that the search effort for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER has failed to locate the jet on the seafloor.
“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft,” says the statement. “Accordingly, the underwater search has been suspended.”
The move is consistent with the three governments’ stated intentions in mid-2016, which determined that the search would be abandoned should credible leads fail to materialise.
The last ship in the search area was Fugro Equator, following the departure of the Dong Hai Jiu 101 in mid-December.
For most of the search in the southern Indian Ocean four vessels were employed, although bad weather has been a near constant challenge. Immediately after the aircraft’s disappearance on 8 March 2014, dozens of ships and aircraft conducted an intense search for any sign of the missing aircraft.
Since then, scattered debris has been found in the littoral regions of the western Indian Ocean, but this provided no clues as to what caused the aircraft, carrying 239 passengers and crew on a route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, to divert off-course and disappear.