The hunt for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is to be suspended if the missing plane isn’t found in the current search zone, the countries involved in the search said Friday.
The governments of Malaysia, Australia and China reiterated their commitment to completing the current search zone of 120,000 square kilometers, and stipulated in their email that “in the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft,” the search would not end, but be suspended.
“This does not mean we have given up on looking for MH370,” Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said at a press conference.
He added that if any credible new evidence is found, Malaysia, China and Australia will continue to work together to analyze that evidence.
Despite assurances that the suspension does not mean a termination of the search, an email sent to families states that while there have been significant discoveries of debris, none of it provided information that “positively identified the precise location of the aircraft.”
It goes on to say that “with less than 10,000 square kilometers of the high priority search area remaining to be searched, Ministers acknowledged that despite the best efforts of all involved, the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading.”
The email was sent to the families after ministers from Australia, Malaysia and China met in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Friday.