Where Is MH370? Search for Missing Plane Will Continue in January After Failed Government Investigation

One of aviation's greatest mysteries remains unsolved in 2017. Malaysian Airlines aircraft MH370 went missing while flying near the southern Indian Ocean with 239 people on board in March 2014. It was traveling to Beijing from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Nearly four years later, the aircraft still has not been found, and no one knows why. 

In October, Australia released a 440-page final report on its failed $160 million search for flight MH370 in an area roughly 1,250 miles due west of Western Australia. It concluded that officials could not determine why the plane went missing until they found the missing plane. 

“It is almost inconceivable and certainly societally unacceptable in the modern aviation era...for a large commercial aircraft to be missing and for the world not to know with certainty what became of the aircraft and those on board,” the report read.

RTSJ5NO A woman leaves a message of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 on March 16, 2014. Reuters

Still, 2017 was a big year in the search for MH370. Four things officials revealed about the plane investigation this year:

1. Australia, China and Malaysia announced in January that a joint deep-sea search would end. The Malaysian government, however, said it would not stop its costly search for answers.

2. Australia’s main scientific agency announced in August it was certain, with “unprecedented precision,” that the plane crashed northeast of the search zone, but the findings were ignored by the Australian government, and the search wasn't relocated to that region.

3. Australian authorities said in October that the plane's pilot had flown a similar route on his home flight simulator six weeks before the plane went missing. Conspiracy theorists said it was likely that the crew intentionally led the aircraft to its demise. But Malaysian investigators said in 2015 that the pilots and crew members on the plane were not under suspicion.

“The understanding of where MH370 may be located is better now than it has ever been. The underwater search has eliminated most of the high probability areas,” read the Australian report. “We...deeply regret that we have not been able to locate the aircraft, nor those 239 souls on board that remain missing.”

4. Malaysia said in October that three firms were competing to continue the search for the plane and its passengers. Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said the U.S. seabed exploration company Ocean Infinity even promised to only require payment if the aircraft was found. “We won’t be deciding anything now on whether we are embarking on a new search or not,” Liow added.

Darren Chester, Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, later announced the Malaysian government had "accepted an offer from Ocean Infinity to search for the missing plane." "Malaysia's decision to proceed with the search shows the commitment to find MH370," he said in a statement.

Ocean Infinity told The Daily Beast earlier this month that it would send its search vessel to find the plane starting in January.

Beijing resident Steve Wang, whose mother was a passenger on MH370, told CNN a new search was "definitely good news." "I hope the investigative team can release all the information and data they've gathered throughout the whole process and make sure to pass all the information to that firm, which will be taking over the search," he said.