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10 years after a Malaysia Airlines plane vanished, can it still be found?

The Malaysian government and a U.S. technology firm are considering a new search for the wreckage of MH370 in an effort to solve one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time.
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Ten years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, the Malaysian government and a U.S. technology company are considering a new underwater search for the wreckage in an effort to solve one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time.

The Boeing 777 was carrying 239 passengers and crew members, most of them Chinese nationals, when it vanished from radar on March 8, 2014, shortly after having taken off from Kuala Lumpur on a red-eye flight to Beijing. Radar and satellite data showed that the plane had strayed from its original route, and it is believed to have eventually crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. 

It is still unclear what caused the crash, with theories including mechanical failure, hijacking or the plane being deliberately taken off course by its pilots.

Day Of Remembrance For MH370
A person holds a candle in remembrance of a missing passenger during the Day of Remembrance for MH370 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on Sunday.Supian Ahmad / NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

Sarah Bajc, whose boyfriend, Philip Wood, an IBM executive from Texas, was among the passengers, said that while she had doubts as to whether the Malaysian government would follow through, she would be “delighted” if the search resumed.

“I think they owe it to the world, they owe it to the family members to find out what happened,” she said in an interview. 

Ocean Infinity, a marine robotics company based in Austin, Texas, spent months searching for the remains of the missing aircraft in 2018 but came up empty. Now company officials hope to try again, saying technology has advanced.

“Finding MH370 and bringing some resolution for all connected with the loss of the aircraft has been a constant in our minds since we left the southern Indian Ocean in 2018,” CEO Oliver Plunkett said in a statement.

The Malaysian government is open to the idea and says it is in talks with the company, which, as in 2018, would be paid only if it found the wreckage.

“It is an issue affecting lives of people, and whatever needs to be done must be done,” Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told reporters Monday during a visit to Australia. 

Speaking at a remembrance event outside Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke did not disclose what Ocean Infinity would be paid if it succeeded but said the government was not worried about the cost.

Despite a search spanning hundreds of thousands of square miles, only a couple of dozen pieces of debris have been found after they washed ashore on the East African coast and islands in the Indian Ocean. Experts believe the plane itself could be miles underwater. 

The southern Indian Ocean is one of the most remote parts of the world, making the search extremely difficult, aviation analyst John Cox said.

“Somewhat like the Amelia Earhart airplane, I suspect that we will continue to look for it,” he said. “But it could be years and years before we find it.” 

In the meantime, Bajc, who has since married and now runs a resort in Panama, continues to wait.

“I believe that sooner or later, we’re going to find out what happened,” she said.