On the third anniversary of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Australian officials involved in the now-suspended search expressed hopes that the plane will be found some day.
A search operation – led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau – was carried out for over two years in the southern Indian Ocean, but with no luck.
"While to date we have been unsuccessful, we remain hopeful that at some stage in the future, there will be a breakthrough, the aircraft will be found, and we will be able to answer more of your questions," Darren Chester, Australia's minister for infrastructure and transport, said at a private ceremony held in Brisbane on Wednesday (8 March).
The event at St. John's Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane was reportedly attended by around 100 people, including some family members of the victims of the tragedy.
Australian officials associated with the search operation, former Australian defense chief Angus Houston who coordinated the early months of the search efforts, and diplomats from Malaysia, China and New Zealand were also present at the service.
Chester announced that a memorial will be erected in the west coast city of Perth in memory of the lost passengers and crew of the doomed Beijing-bound plane that is assumed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. A total of 239 passengers and crew members were on board the Boeing 777 when it disappeared on 8 March, 2014.
The search operation, which cost nearly $200m (£164m), was suspended in January after a 120,000 sq km undersea sweep failed to yield results. The decision was jointly made by China, Malaysia and Australia. However, families of the victims were disappointed with the decision and later decided to raise funds to undertake a private search.
Chester told the Associated Press that he would not "offer advice to those who want to fund-raise privately to extend the search, but from the Australian government's perspective, the search remains suspended".
Elsewhere, family members of the 15 Chinese passengers who were on board the missing flight filed papers on Tuesday (7 March) to sue Malaysian Airline System BHD (MAS), the parent company of Malaysia Airlines. They are seeking damages for "wrongful acts" that led to the disappearance of the aircraft.
Another lawsuit was also filed recently in the US by Gregory Keith — a special administrator representing family members of 44 victims —accusing a series of catastrophic electrical and other failures for the sudden disappearance of the plane, news.com.au reported.
"The defects caused and/or allowed a massive and cascading sequence of electrical failures on-board the lost plane which disabled vital systems, including the lost plane's ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) and Mode S Transponder.
"Boeing elected to equip the lost plane with these ineffective ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters) and ULBs (Underwater Locator Beacons) despite the presence of other readily available and reasonable alternative technologies that would have allowed the lost plane, the FDR (Flight Data Recorder), and the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) to be tracked in real-time anywhere in the world, especially in cases of crashes, disruption of communications and other losses," the legal papers say.