Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Tuesday he is hopeful that missing Flight 370 will still be found as lawmakers observed a moment of silence in Parliament to mark the second anniversary of the plane’s disappearance.
Najib said the wing part found on France’s Reunion Island last July was evidence the flight tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean. An ongoing search is expected to be completed later this year and he said Malaysia “remains hopeful” that the plane will be found.
If the search turns up nothing, he said, Malaysia, Australia and China will hold a meeting to determine the way forward.
“The search has been the most challenging in aviation history,” Najib said in a statement. “We remain committed to doing everything within our means to solve what is an agonizing mystery for the loved ones of those who were lost.”
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 jet vanished mysteriously with 239 people on board while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. After two years, it remains one of the biggest mysteries in modern aviation.
The Australian-led search effort has spent more than $130 million looking through a vast area of the Indian Ocean nearly 4 miles deep. Investigators have said the search will end by June unless fresh clues are found.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said crews have combed about three-quarters of the 46,000-square-mile search zone. He said the government is waiting for verification of two more possible pieces of debris, which were discovered recently in Mozambique and Reunion Island.
The international investigating team issued an interim statement as required by international aviation laws on the anniversary of the plane’s disappearance, but didn’t provide any fresh clues about the cause.
The statement said a final report will be completed only when the aircraft wreckage is located or the search for the wreckage is terminated.
Families of those on board have appealed to authorities to keep the search alive.
“My hope is that they will find the plane. I also hope that the Malaysian side will not stop the search and that they will continue until they find the plane. I heard they are going to stop. That cannot happen,” said Zhang Qian, whose husband, Wang Houbin, was among 153 Chinese citizens on the plane.
Some still held on to hope that their family members are alive, with several relatives holding placards that read “Mom is waiting for you” and “Pray for the plane’s safe return.”
“We think our relatives are alive. We know this feeling is not very scientific, but we strongly believe this,” said Dai Shuqin, a 62-year-old woman whose younger sister was on the flight.