Search for MH370 to close in two weeks
Malaysian Minister of Transport, Liow Tiong Lai, announced on Thursday that the search would be coming to an end.
"We're at the final lap within these two weeks. We hope we can find the plane," he said at a press conference.
Authorities had indicated that the search would be called off early this year. Liow did not give a specific date, but indicated that a decision would be made after a meeting between Malaysia, China and Australia had been held to review the final report.
The current search zone, an area of about 120 000 square kilometres off the west coast of Australia, has not yielded any findings in the two years of searching.
Debris has been found off the coast of east Africa, specifically Madagascar and Mauritius.
Just before Christmas, former South African cricketer Albie Morkel believes he found a piece of the wing on a beach in Mossel Bay. The piece of debris has been sent for testing.
The Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur carrying 239 passengers.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the unit that has taken the lead in the search, expressed grave doubt that the current search area was the correct one, in a report released last month.
The governments of all three countries involved in the search agreed to discontinue the search once the area had been fully examined, unless "credible new information" was to come to light.
Family members of those lost on the plane have long since expressed their doubt in the official search area. Some have come together to form a group called Voice 370, to offer support to one another as well as ensure that the search for the missing plane continued.
The group released a statement on Thursday calling on the governments to carefully consider the next step before terminating the search.
The statement added "Extending the search to the new area defined by experts is an inescapable duty owed to the flying public in the interest of aviation safety."
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