A year ago MH 17 crashed in Ukraine, killing 298 people. The airplane was shot down, but other than that one fact, little else is known. Sure, there’s been a lot of geo-political finger pointing and the talking heads of the 24-hour news cycle have speculated and theorized. However, there has been no meaningful investigation and no real closure for the families or, for that matter, the international community.
Even more frustrating is MH 370, where, despite extensive efforts to find some evidence of the airplane, here we are, 16 months later, not knowing any more than we knew on March 8, 2014, when the airplane disappeared. At least the families of the passengers of MH 17 know how their loved ones died. Seemingly, neither of these events rises to the level of news anymore, let alone “breaking news.”
So what happens now for these two tragedies? The Australian/Malaysian search effort for MH 370 has been unsuccessful. In all likelihood, whatever residual search efforts are still going on will end, followed by outcries from the families. But the time is coming, sooner rather than later, when the involved governments will have to “bite the bullet” and declare they’ve done their best and, simply stated, there’s no place else left to look.
As for MH 17, the involved governments have never gotten past the finger pointing and political games. To date, there has been no meaningful accident investigation. ICAO Annex 13 has become a theoretical exercise and the international community has essentially found itself, if not powerless, pretty close to it. At this point, it appears that there may never be a meaningful investigation of this aviation tragedy.
It is a tremendous contradiction that while the safety of airline travel is at unprecedented levels, we still have two airline disasters with very few meaningful answers.
(Originally posted July 22, 2015)