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MH370 could be declared "lost" - meaning the search would be over

However, the airline says that it is committed to finding the plane.

Image: Lai Seng Sin

FAMILIES OF THOSE on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have reacted furiously to a report that the flight will be declared “lost”.

Such a declaration would mean that the search for the flight, which has been missing since 8 March, would be ended.

The New Zealand Herald has quoted the airline’s commercial director Hugh Dunleavy as saying that the company was looking to record the Boeing 777 as lost.

“We don’t have a final date but once we’ve had an official loss recorded we can work with the next of kin on the full compensation payments for those families,” he was quoted as saying.

That quote was denied both by the airline and officials in Australia, who are leading the search.

Voice370, a representative group for families of those on board the doomed flight, said that such a move would bring “intense agony”.

“Such unilateral declaration brings intense agony and confusions to family members and makes us lose faith in the search effort,” it said.

AIR Malaysia Source: PA

An aviation industry source told AFP that a declaration that the plane is lost would mean all search efforts would be stopped.

Malaysia Airlines said that Dunleavy had been voicing his own opinion, saying the “ongoing search and recovery operations will remain and will not be discontinued”.

Australian authorities said they were committed to the search for the plane, which is believed to have gone down off the western Australian coast.

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