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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Three years on, sadness, frustration and disappointment surround the fate of MH370

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THE wife of an Australian MH370 passenger has slammed plans for a permanent memorial to the victims, announced during yesterday’s third anniversary of the plane’s disappearance.

Federal Transport Minsiter Darren Chester said he wanted the memorial built as soon as possible in Perth to honour the 239 passengers and crew of the Malaysia Airlines’ flight.

The search for the Boeing 777 was suspended in January after failing to find anything of interest in the 120,000 square kilometre search zone.

Another “high probability area” to the north of the zone was identified by experts late last year but the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese Governments would not commit further funding.

Perth resident Danica Weeks, the wife of passenger Paul Weeks, said she felt it was “inappropriate” to erect a memorial given the plane had not been found.

She said she asked Minister Chester where he was planning to put the memorial – but no decision had been made.

“The idea had been floated by Tony Abbott previously and we vehemently refuted it then, so I was puzzled it was being discussed again,” Ms Weeks said.

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“I made known my thoughts on that, and they were not favourable whilst MH370’s final resting place remains unknown.”

Other next of kin, including the daughter of passengers Bob and Cathy Lawton, Amanda, said she thought a memorial was a fitting way to honour the memories of her parents and others on board the plane.

The Minister’s spokeswoman said as Perth was the nearest city to the area in which MH370 is thought to have crashed, it was considered the most appropriate place for a memorial.

Mrs Week’s comments come after families bereaved by the disappearance of MH370 have welcomed the decision to build a permanent memorial in Perth, as a lasting tribute to the flight’s 239 passengers and crew.

Relatives and friends of the Australians on board the Malaysia Airlines’ flight, including Bob and Cathy Lawton, Rod and Mary Burrows and Paul Weeks, gathered at St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane to mark the third anniversary of the tragedy.

Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester, Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Greg Hood and former Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss joined the families, in a show of respect and hope the mystery will one day be solved.

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Mr Chester delivered the news a memorial would be established in Perth as soon as possible, to honour everyone on board the Boeing 777.

He acknowledged the “sadness, frustration and disappointment” shared by families that the plane’s fate remained unknown.

“It’s a hollow feeling for the families today but it’s important we gather and pay our respects,” Minister Chester said.

“We’re still hopeful there may be a breakthrough in weeks or months to come that leads us to the location of MH370.”

He said work continued at the ATSB in terms of assessment of satellite imagery, reviewing some of the sonar work that was done in the Southern Indian Ocean and drift modelling as more debris was found.

“There’s been pieces of debris located over the past couple of years, some far more significant than others and they’ve given investigators more information, but in terms of credible new evidence leading to a location of MH370 we don’t have that yet,” said Mr Chester.

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Karla McMaster, whose parents Rod and Mary Burrows were travelling with the Lawtons, said it was “hard not having answers”.

“We’re hopeful the search is continued at a later date and that we can get answers and find out where our parents are and all the other passengers, and make sure that everyone who’s going to be flying is safe again,” said Ms McMaster.

“All the officials that we speak to are so invested in this and I really feel that they want to find it as well and it’s not just a job for them.”

Amanda Lawton said the memorial announcement came as a surprise, but was a welcome development.

Her aunt Jeanette Maguire, Cathy Lawton’s sister, said they were very grateful for all that the Federal Government had done.

“We’re so lucky to live in Australia and to be kept informed about everything that’s going on,” said Ms Maguire.

“I don’t think those families in Malaysia and China are so fortunate.”

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Former Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss who oversaw the start of the complex underwater search denied they rushed into the operation — and should have waited until more evidence was available.

He said the debris discoveries provided less specific information than the Inmarsat satellite data, on which the 120,000 square kilometre “high probability” zone was based.

“We had the best experts in their fields working on the search, and it is deeply disappointing to everyone the aircraft hasn’t been found,” said Mr Truss.

“It was not the result of a lack of expertise or commitment to the cause.”

Online Source: The NEWS

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