After more than a year of searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australia has called on China to become more involved as funding for the search effort begins to dry up, local media reported Wednesday. Australia’s Deputy Minister for Transport Warren Truss said he was “disappointed” that the airplane had not been found after such an extended time period of searching.
“[China has] been talking about the prospect of providing ships and searching equipment, and whatever contribution they could make would obviously be welcome,” said Truss speaking in Brisbane at a new airport terminal opening. “But it does need to be shipping and equipment that’s compatible with existing operations, and they don’t have that equipment available so they’re working on ways they might be able to make a contribution.”
Flight MH370 disappeared March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. There were 239 passengers onboard the flight, with citizens from China, Malaysia and Australia.
Tuss said there were sufficient funds from Malaysia and Australia to continue search efforts until April or May 2016. While China -- along with Malaysia and Australia -- has been involved in the search process for the Boeing 777, China has reportedly not provided funding for the endeavor. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said that more than 70,000 square kilometers (in excess of 27,000 square miles) have been searched.
“I have to say that I share the frustration after these many months of searching, we still haven’t located the aircraft,” Tuss said. “Hopefully it’s just a short time away.”
Rumors have continued to circulate since the aircraft’s disappearance with several false sightings reported. Some experts have said that it may be impossible to locate the aircraft with the Indian Ocean current circulating debris and making it difficult to pinpoint.
The only debris found so far was a wing part on the island of Reunion in July. All passengers and crew members have been presumed dead. A former investigator said last year that the search for MH370 could be one of the most difficult recovery efforts in history.