Nearly 80% of Americans think no one survived Flight 370, CNN poll finds

Story highlights

Nearly 80% of respondents think there are no survivors in Flight 370 disappearance

Most Americans believe the search should continue, but half think search is in the wrong place

More than half of Americans believe the public will find out what occurred

CNN/ORC International poll based on interviews with 1,008 adults from May 2 through May 4

CNN  — 

Most Americans believe the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 should continue, but roughly half the country thinks the arduous search is being conducted in the wrong place, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/ORC International poll comes nearly two months after the March 8 disappearance of the plane carrying 239 people. The Beijing-bound flight took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Nearly eight in 10 respondents, or 79%, think there are no survivors.

After failing to find any wreckage or debris on the ocean surface, authorities last week announced the suspension of aerial searches to focus efforts instead on 60,000 square kilometers of the ocean floor, a process that could take six to eight months.

For eight weeks, an international coalition has been searching for the plane, focusing its effort in the southern Indian Ocean, where it is believed to have gone down.

Slightly more than half of all Americans – or 52% – believe that the general public will eventually find out what occurred, but 46% say that the fate of the missing airliner will always remain a mystery.

Hope transcends frustration in quest to bring families closure

As to the possible causes of the plane’s disappearance, Americans have a open mind, with some sort of action on the part of the plane’s pilots or crew the most likely possibility.

Some two-thirds of respondents say it is very likely (26%) or somewhat likely (40%) that the disappearance was due to actions taken by the pilots or crew members.

Terrorists were likely involved in the disappearance, according to 57% of the respondents. Separately, when asked whether mechanical failure or an accident was behind the disappearance, 52% said that was likely versus 46% who answered not likely.

Fewer Americans – about 42% – think hijackers may have been involved, while 9% believe that space aliens or beings from another dimension were involved.

Nearly seven in 10, or 69%, say that the search should continue – the only question is where.

About half of respondents, or 51%, say the plane (or its wreckage) is located in the Indian Ocean in the general area where the search is taking place, but 46% say the plane is somewhere else, far from the search site.

Only 26% of Americans say that the Malaysian government has done a good job managing the search and providing information to the general public.

The survey, which is based on interviews with 1,008 adult Americans conducted by telephone from May 2 through May 4, has an overall sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.