By political reporter Henry Belot
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been suspended, with authorities unable to locate the aircraft in the Indian Ocean.
The passenger plane carrying 239 passengers and crew, including six Australians, disappeared on March 8, 2014 while travelling between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
Its disappearance is one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history, with authorities unsuccessfully searching 120,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor.
In a joint statement, the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments said the decision to abandon the search was not taken lightly, or without sadness.
“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft,” the statement said.
“Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft.”
The three Government representatives said they had been overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication of those involved in the search.
“Their tireless work has continued to improve our knowledge of the search area and has been critical in our efforts to locate the aircraft,” the statement said.
“We would like to reiterate our utmost appreciation to the many nations that have provided expertise and assistance since the early days of this unfortunate tragedy.”
Earlier this month, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai rejected calls for relatives of passengers on board the MH370 to extend the search.