As those searching for crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 struggle to find some trace of the plane before its "black box" runs out of batteries and stops sending out pings signaling its location, it seems officials are grasping at straws to figure out what happened. Nearly a month after the plane disappeared, there is still no trace of the wreckage or where it could be.
Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters today that officials are looking into whether the food aboard the plane could have been poisoned, a possibility never before raised during the search. Yesterday, officials said the search was now a criminal investigation, but quickly added that all passengers have been cleared — meaning police are focusing on the crew as having possibly hijacking the plane, which is not a new development. The inspector general also said its possible that MH370 will never be found:
Investigations may go on and on and on. We have to clear every little thing... At the end of the investigations, we may not even know the real cause. We may not even know the reason for this incident.
Meanwhile, Australia has again altered its search route after days of fruitlessly scanning the ocean for possible plane debris:
AMSA has released a new search map for missing Flight MH370 pic.twitter.com/9xnJOTSizX— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 2, 2014
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott again spoke of how challenging this search is, calling it "the most difficult in human history." He also warned that it is possible investigators will never find the plane:
We cannot be certain of ultimate success in the search for MH370. But we can be certain that we will spare no effort -- that we will not rest -- until we have done everything we humanly can.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak added, "we want to provide comfort to the families and we will not rest until answers are indeed found. But in another sign that searchers are losing hope, Malaysia announced that it will close its MH370 press center next week:
Malaysian Ministry of Transport to close media center on Monday. Updates to come via email and Pressers with notice #MH370— Oliver Janney (@CNNewsCrew) April 3, 2014
Today a British nuclear submarine is joining the group of internationally-dispatched planes and ships looking for the plane. Another submarine and an Australian ship bearing black-box-finding technology are also joining the search, which is already aided by advanced search technology:
It seems at this point the only movement being made is in relations between China and Malaysia. Though the Chinese government initially backed distress families in criticism of Malaysia's handling of the tragedy, it has since walked back some of its initial complaints. Chinese Ambassador Huang Huikang told some Malaysian reporters that
We never said China was angry about the current situation and we never said we were dissatisfied about the progress so far that has been made. We are good friends. We are partners. This is just an incident which will never affect our good relations.
He added that some families of passengers aboard the plane, who have been suffering through false leads and confusion for days on end, espouse “radical,’’ “extreme,’’ and “somewhat irresponsible’’ views.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.