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OPINION: Should the search for missing MH370 be extended?

The shock disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March 2014 is one of the most keenly ­debated and puzzling aviation mysteries of our time.

That the Boeing 777-200ER met a watery end cannot be disputed, with a trio of composite structures washed up on Mauritius, Reunion and Tanzania since last year already confirmed as being parts of the lost widebody, and additional finds being inspected by experts.

While these discoveries undermine the more outlandish conspiracy theories, like abduction, decompression and fire, we remain none the wiser about what really led to the twinjet reversing course away from Beijing in the hours of darkness. Only finding the aircraft’s main wreckage could possibly provide the answers.

If a schedule agreed by the Australian, Chinese and Malaysian search authorities earlier this year holds firm – and no new evidence emerges – the seabed search for MH370 will end in December, after combing an area totalling 120,000km² (46,300 mile²). But would it be right to end this painstaking activity?

According to the revised calculations of one 777 ­captain, the bulk of the wreckage – and perhaps the 239 people lost with it – could be situated just outside the limit of the current search area, and a crowdfunding campaign could be proposed to explore this region.

It would be a fresh tragedy if a search ended without studying such a theory. Answers must be found.

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