Kuala Lumpur: Relatives of those aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 said on Saturday they were taking the search for the plane into their own hands to try to push governments to expand the search area along the east African coast. Flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, sparking a search in the southern Indian Ocean that entered its 1,000 day on Saturday.
Members of Voice 370, an MH370 next-of-kin support group, were speaking ahead of a trip to Madagascar, where they hoped to scour the country’s beaches for debris. Spokeswoman Grace Subathirai Nathan said she hoped the trip would help spur the Malaysian, Chinese and Australian governments to collect debris along the continental coast where parts from the aircraft had been found.
“After repeated attempts, and repeated requests for a mobilisation of a search along the coastline, nothing has been done to date,” she told reporters at Kuala Lumpur airport. “So it has fallen into our hands to take this search upon ourselves.”
Nathan, whose mother was on the plane, was among four Malaysians, two Chinese nationals and a Frenchman who left for Madagascar on Saturday to hunt for debris and raise awareness of the plane among local communities and organisations.
Three pieces of debris found on the beaches of Mauritius, Tanzania and the French island of Reunion, have been confirmed to be from MH370. Investigators are examining several other pieces found in Mozambique and South Africa.
The search is expected to be suspended by the end of the year, when an Australian-led team completes its scouring of a 120,000-sq-km target area. “We want the world to know that just because the search is about to end, that doesn’t mean to us that the search is ending,” Nathan said. “There is still a lot at stake.”