Relatives of the passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have reportedly launched a crowd-funded campaign to raise millions of dollars, which will be used to hire private investigators and reward whistleblowers who can help find the missing aircraft that disappeared on March 8, triggering an international search unprecedented in modern aviation history.
The announcement comes at a time when an Australian agency currently leading the search efforts said that the plane would be found in the southern Indian Ocean. However, three months of futile search efforts have angered many relatives of the missing plane's passengers, some of whom believe that officials responsible for the search have deliberately concealed the truth about the jet's disappearance.
“We are taking matters into our own hands. I'm convinced that somebody is concealing something,” Sarah Bajc, a U.S. citizen whose partner Philip Wood, 50, was on the flight, told USA Today, adding that there is no strong evidence that the plane is in the southern Indian Ocean, where officials conducted extensive search for weeks with no leads.
The campaign, called “Reward MH370: The Search for the Truth,” will begin Monday on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding website, with a minimum donation of $5. The effort is expected to raise a total of $5 million, of which $3 million will be offered to anyone who can offer useful information that can lead to the plane's discovery, while the remaining $2 million will be used to pay for private investigation services, USA Today reported.
“Clearly, they've already spent $100 million dollars and they've gotten nothing. But we're not going to approach it with boats in the ocean, we're going to approach it with human intelligence,” Bajc said.
Meanwhile, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, or, ATSB, which is responsible for the search of Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, said further analysis of the plane’s path based on satellite data “confirms that MH370 will be found in close proximity,” specifically in the corridor known as the “7th arc,” CBS News reported.
“At the time MH370 reached this arc, the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending. As a result, the aircraft is unlikely to be more than 20 NM (38 km) to the west or 30 NM (55 km) to the east of the arc,” ATSB said in a statement. The specific location referred to by the ATSB lies about 1,000 miles northwest off the coast of western Australia.