The aircraft disappeared 46 days ago
So far, the search has turned up nothing
Officials are starting to draw up longer range plans
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared 46 days ago and there’s still no sign of the jetliner or its 239 passengers and crew. Let’s get you caught up:
It’s been six weeks and the search hasn’t turned up anything. What’s next?
More of the same for now – searches of the surface of the southern Indian Ocean from the air and sea and mapping of the ocean floor using an unmanned deep-sea vehicle. Malaysian and Australian authorities are starting to map out a long-term strategy for the search, which could conceivably go on for months or years, if the two-year search for Air France Flight 447 is any guide. Guidelines drafted by Malaysia raise the possibility of a significantly wider search area should the current underwater search fail to turn up evidence of the plane.
Is it possible that will happen?
The Bluefin-21 underwater vehicle brought in to scour the ocean floor is on its 10th trip underwater in search of Flight 370 and has yet to find anything. It’s covered about two-thirds of the area searchers want to focus on – a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius around where a pinger locator earlier detected what could have been the locator beacon from one of the plane’s so-called black boxes. Aerial and surface searches have also struck out so far. Given enough time and money, searchers would almost certainly find the jet, but if it’s not found, this would not be the first airplane to vanish.
How are families of the missing doing?
They’re angry and frustrated. Relatives had expected to meet with Malaysia Airlines representatives and government officials Tuesday in Beijing, but the meeting was postponed. They went to a meeting at a Beijing hotel there, expecting a long-awaited briefing from Malaysian technical experts. They erupted in anger when the diplomat announced there wouldn’t be one.”We don’t know at this point whether they are alive or dead. And you haven’t given us any direct proof of where they actually are. We want our loved ones back,” the father of a missing passenger cried.
Are lawyers getting involved?s
Although an Illinois lawyer began laying the groundwork for a lawsuit last month, now that we’re past a 45-day period during which lawyers are prohibited by a U.S. regulation from contacting relatives, expect more attorneys to join the fray. The rule, enforced by the National Transportation Safety Board, says American attorneys have to wait 45 days before contacting relatives of passengers lost in a plane crash. That means U.S.-based attorneys can now file lawsuits on behalf of Flight 370 passengers against the missing plane’s manufacturer, U.S.-based Boeing. But relatives aren’t interested in a big money grab, Sarah Bajc, partner of Flight 370 passenger Philip Wood, told CNN Tuesday. She said the feeling among the relatives is that they do not want to file lawsuits to chase money. They want information. “We don’t feel we have a whole lot of other choices because we’re certainly not getting any answers without (legal action),” Bajc said.
Legal pressure might force it to release data on the aircraft’s flight path and other details, she said.
CNN’s David Molko contributed to this report.