Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Families lobby Malaysian minister to resume search for MH370

Published:Monday | January 23, 2017 | 1:00 AM
In this March 31, 2014 file photo, HMAS Success scans the southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of western Australia, as a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion flies over, while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

CANBERRA (AP):

Relatives of passengers and crew aboard the missing Malaysian airliner plan to present the Malaysian transport minister in Australia with letters urging that the search resumes.

Sheryl Keen, a supporter of the international victims' advocacy group, Voice 370, said Sunday that she plans to personally hand to Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai dozens of letters from relatives when Liow meets this week in the west coast city of Perth with his Australian counterpart, Darren Chester.

Last week, Malaysia, Australia and China announced that the deep-sea search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had been suspended, perhaps forever, after a sonar scan of 120,000 square kilometres (46,000 square miles) of the Indian Ocean west of Australia failed to find any trace of the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board after flying far off course during a trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

Keen, who chairs her own support organisation, Air Crash Support Group of Australia, said she had yet to hear from the Malaysian Consulate in Perth whether she would be allowed a one-minute meeting with Liow on Sunday or Monday.

"The general content is urging him to continue the search," Keen said. "I do believe some of them are quite heartfelt and others are quite brief."

Chester said he would hold an informal meeting with Liow on Sunday. Both ministers will welcome the final search ship, Fugro Equator, when it returns from the abandoned search area to Perth's port at Fremantle on Monday.

"We will both be in Perth tomorrow to thank the crew of the Fugro Equator for their search efforts in trying conditions," Chester said in a statement.

Voice370 wants the ministers to use the meeting to reconsider the suspension of the search.