Saturday, March 18, 2017

MH370 victim's husband explains why the search for the plane must go on

On March 8, three years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 vanished from radar as it was crossing the Indian Ocean. The plane was carrying 239 passengers and crew and was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when air traffic control declared it missing from their screens. Three years later, there's still no trace of the plane and authorities who had once promised to keep searching, seem to be giving up. Narendran K.S., whose wife Chandrika Sharma was on board the plane, explains why the search must continue.

At the outset, let me make it clear: the responsibility for the search (of MH370) remains with the Malaysian government. Sadly, that government has chosen to suspend the search under questionable pretexts. It is very important for the aviation sector and the flying public to uncover how a large jetliner, claiming to be the safest, most sophisticated and successful commercial aircraft with hundreds of passengers on board, can just disappear without a trace. Finding the missing plane is crucial to understanding what might have happened. Knowing the answer can help evolve strategies to avoid a recurrence. I don't believe we can feel safe while flying when the possibility of another similar incident lurks.

Our immediate priority then is to press the governments around the world to urge Malaysia, China and Australia to resume search and persevere until we find satisfactory answers to what actually happened. The attitude of governments, aviation-related businesses and the world at large of 'business as usual' must end. There exists poorly-understood safety and security hazards that need sustained inquiry.

The search and investigation is a complex challenge, a hazardous one that MH370 families don't have the resources and capacity to manage. However, we are unequivocally against the premature end to the search. Should Malaysia fail to respond, we will work to elicit fund commitments from world governments, corporations, high net-worth individuals and the travelling public. This is not likely to be easy. It brings up its own challenges of mobilisation, utilisation, accountability to the public, and suitable systems and processes.

The search in the ocean also requires experts, expensive equipment, and importantly, bathymetric data. If the fruitless efforts of the past three years, and the successful search for Air France flight 447 is anything to go by, it is a painstaking venture not to be taken lightly. We have had initial discussions with the best and highly-experienced experts in the world to scope the entire task.
17/03/17 Deccan Chronicle