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MH370 families to raise US$5m for 'whistleblower'

Australian navy ship Ocean Shield lies docked at naval base HMAS Stirling while being fitted with a towed pinger locator to aid in her roll in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth, Australia, on March 30, 2014. Photo: AP

Several families of the passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 yesterday launched a drive to raise US$5 million in a bid to encourage insiders to come forward to resolve the mystery of the plane’s disappearance three months ago.

The “Reward MH370” campaign on fundraising website Indiegogo aims to raise at least that amount “to encourage a whistleblower to come forward with information,” the families said in a press release.

The jet was on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, about two-thirds of them Chinese, when contact was lost.

The Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but an extensive search has failed to turn up any sign of wreckage so far, leaving frustrated and anguished families of those who were on board suspecting a cover-up.

“We are convinced that somewhere, someone knows something, and we hope this reward will entice him or her to come forward,” said Ethan Hunt, a technology company chief who is heading the campaign.

Sarah Bajc, partner of American passenger Philip Wood, said a handful of families were behind the campaign to look at the unprecedented aviation mystery with “a fresh set of eyes.”

“Governments and agencies have given it their best shot but have failed to turn up a single shred of evidence, either because of a faulty approach or due to intentional misdirection by one or more individuals,” she said in the release.

China, Malaysia and Australia, which is leading the search far off its western coast, have promised that the hunt for the plane will continue. An international team is determining an expanded search zone of up to 60,000 square kilometers based on the jet’s last communication with an Inmarsat satellite.

Australia has also released a request for tenders for a company to be engaged as a prime contractor and provide the expertise, equipment and vessels needed to carry out a deep-sea search from August.

Malaysia has taken the brunt of criticism from upset relatives. The Southeast Asian country has insisted it is doing all it can and working closely with Australia, China and other countries to find the jet.

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