Mar 6, 2016 6:43 AM

Families of missing Flight 370 press for search to continue

The Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) The families of those who were aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 appealed to authorities Sunday to continue searching for the plane, saying that one of aviation's great mysteries must not be left unsolved.

An ongoing search in the southern Indian Ocean has found no trace of the Boeing 777, which vanished two years ago with 239 people on board, though a wing part washed ashore on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean last July. The search is expected to end in June.

At a commemorative event Sunday to mark the second anniversary of the jet's March 8, 2014, disappearance, family members released white balloons tagged with the names of everyone aboard the plane and the words: "MH370: Always remembered in our hearts."

Jacquita Gomes, who lost her husband, inflight supervisor Patrick Gomes, when the plane disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, said the families are fighting for the search to continue "because our loved ones are not home yet, so how can we say it's the end?"

Gomes, standing on a stage at a shopping mall in a Kuala Lumpur suburb with more than two dozen relatives of passengers, said the families are united in fighting for the cause.

"I think we are done with all the sobbing and wailing. We do cry in silence. We have faces full of smiles, but behind the smiles, there is also sadness. ... We have not reached closure," she said.

Other family members paid tribute to their loved ones during the three-hour event, which included songs, poems and dances. A big backdrop on the stage showed a picture of a plane and read: "Search On 2.0. Re-investigate, re-evaluate, re-start. Never give up."

"We may never recover from this if it's classified as an aviation mystery and the case is then closed," the families said in a statement. "If this is left unsolved, then how will we prevent it from happening again?"

Authorities have said that the search will not be expanded in the absence of fresh clues.

Jiang Hui, a 41-year-old Chinese man, said his life has been in limbo since he lost his 62-year-old mother, Jiang Cui Yun, who was aboard the plane. He said he lost his job as an IT engineer a few months after the tragedy due to depression.

He said he filed a lawsuit in China on Friday against Malaysia Airlines, not for the money but in the hope that it will bring some answers to the mystery.

"I want to let my mother know that I will not give up," said an emotional Jiang.

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