MH370 Search: Malaysia Forms Independent Team; Australia to Continue Search No Matter the Cost

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By Reissa Su | April 24, 2014 1:32 PM EST

In the ongoing search for any sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysia has announced it has formed an independent international investigation team to determine the actual reason behind the lost aircraft.

REUTERS/SAMSUL SAID
A woman places a lighted candle on a poster with messages expressing hope for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 during a candlelight vigil in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur on 16 March, 2014.

According to Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudin Hussain, the independent team was set up to investigate the incident and provide valuable insights so a similar event will be prevented in the future.

Mr Hussain said the Malaysian authorities have discussed and approved the international investigation team. The Malaysian government feels it is "imperative" to conduct an independent team that would be competent, transparent and highly credible.

Mr Hussein reiterated that the Malaysian government has nothing to hide. Previously, various reports have surfaced about Malaysia being involved in a "cover-up" which made families of passengers and crew suspicious and angry. The Malaysian government has since denied it is hiding something from the public concerning details of the ongoing investigation.

The independent investigation team will not deal with the criminal aspect of the case should it come up since it would be under the jurisdiction of the Royal Malaysia police. Mr Hussein said the independent team will follow the standard set under the Annex 13 of the Convention of International Civil Aviation (The Chicago Convention).   

Meanwhile, Australia has vowed it will not abandon the search for the lost Malaysia Airlines plane and insisted the cost of the search operations is "not a concern."  Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a new approach to the search will begin if current underwater efforts failed to retrieve something related to the plane.

Defence Minister David Johnston said the search operations need more powerful sonar equipment in the next phase.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had 239 passengers and crew aboard from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane lost all communications with ground control on March 8 and was never heard from since.

The US Navy's Bluefin-21 mini-submarine has covered more than 80 per cent of the 310 sq km search area in the deeper southern Indian Ocean. No signs of debris have been recovered. As the submarine drone is nearing the end of its mission to search for the wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, families and relatives of the plane's passengers and crew became even angrier with the Malaysian government for planning to issue them death certificates. Talks of death certificates and financial aid were dismissed by families who were still hoping their loved ones are still alive somewhere. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/SAMSUL SAID / )
A woman places a lighted candle on a poster with messages expressing hope for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 during a candlelight vigil in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur on 16 March, 2014.
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