When Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radars in March 2014, many people immediately thought the worst. Had terrorists hijacked the plane? Did the pilot crash it on purpose? Could it be a rogue passenger with a vendetta?

Nearly three years later, a French investigation has confirmed that nobody on board the missing Boeing 777 had a suspicious history, Agence France-Presse reported recently. France's Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure, or DGSI, informed the family members of MH370 victims Thursday that background checks it ran on the passengers and staff "didn't turn up anything," relative Ghyslian Watterlos told the news wire.

MH370 was carrying 239 people when it vanished over the Indian Ocean en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Initial reports scrutinized Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who has been accused of flying practice suicide routes before the alleged crash, and two Iranian men who had used fake passports to gain access to the plane. But terrorism — or other malicious intent —  was never confirmed by authorities.

France's Thursday announcement came as part of the country's independent investigation into the MH370 case, but it coincided with statements indicating that the wide-ranging search for the plane was almost over.

On the heels of an operational update that declared the sweep for evidence was on track to end this month, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told reporters he'd planned a tripartite meeting with his counterparts in China and Australia for before the Chinese New Year, Bernama reported.

That means the verdict on the search's future could come by Jan. 28.

"The three countries are committed to completing the final stage of the search in the 120,000-square-kilometer area in the remote Indian Ocean," Liow said. "When it is all done, we will wait for the report if there is anymore credible clue to look for."