Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in 2014 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but no closure ever came for the families of those on board. An extensive, multi-country search mounted for the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers yielded only a few pieces of debris from the airliner.

The family and friends of those on board — and the public in general — still want answers. The Australian Safety Transport Board, however, said recently that it wouldn’t release any information related to the search for the flight and forbid any of its employees from doing so under penalty of imprisonment.

ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood invoked the Transport Safety Investigation Act as justification for sealing the information, stating that releasing the information could “damage the international relations of the Commonwealth,” the Australian reported Monday.

“I’m stunned. As an Australian citizen, I cannot fathom why the ATSB would refuse to release this information when it is ultimately partly or mostly paid for by the Australian taxpayers,” Danica Weeks, whose husband Paul was aboard the plane, told Free Malaysia Today Tuesday. “I cannot come up with any solid reason why they wouldn’t release the information other than it makes them or the Malaysian government look incompetent in their search for MH370.”

Hood invoked the legislation to deny a request for information from the families of the 153 Chinese passengers on the flight.

“Is avoiding offending the Malaysian authorities more important than discovering the truth?” the families asked in a statement.

The Australian filed a freedom of information request, which was denied by ATSB general manager for strategic capability Colin McNamara in February.

“At the end of the day, this is not about saving face,” Weeks told Free Malaysia Today. “This is about people’s lives, [their] loved ones and the future of the flying public as a whole.”

RTS11W3B Relatives of passengers aboard MH370 hold up placards as they wait to speak to government officials in Beijing, China, Mar. 8, 2017. Photo: Reuters