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Pacific News Minute: Search Ends for Flight MH370, Russia Blamed for the Destruction of Another


This week, we got updates on the loss of two Malaysia Airlines jets four years ago. One disappeared on a flight to Beijing, the other was shot down over Ukraine. We have details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

38 minutes after take-off from Kuala Lumpur, the pilot of a Malaysian Airlines jet radioed the tower to say, “Good Night Malaysian three-seven-zero.”  That was the last communication from the plane, which vanished on March 8, 2014.

The search for MH370 and the 238 people aboard ended this week. After a government sponsored sonar sweep of the Indian Ocean came up empty, an American company called Ocean Infinity took up the task.

On Tuesday, the company announced “with a heavy heart” that it had completed a search of a huge area where some scientists believed the plane came down. Other investigators looked into what might have happened – electrical failure, pilot suicide, terrorism, hijacking – after more than four years, officials have no answers.

Four months later, Malaysian Flight 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in Eastern Ukraine with 298 people aboard. A team of international investigators concluded that the plane was brought down by a missile fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian militias.

Last week, they said that missile came from a Russian Military brigade on active duty. A statement from the Australian Foreign Ministry said, “The only conclusion we can reasonably now draw is that Russia was directly involved.” Russia denies any involvement.

This week, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok described a phone call with his Russian Counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, as “quite abrasive.” 

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minute" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
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