A Pennsylvania-sized patch of the Indian Ocean has been combed in a $150 million search effort for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370—and that search is now coming to a close with the mystery still unsolved. The last boat still looking for the plane left the Australian port of Fremantle on Tuesday to scan areas that might have been missed during the initial search because of sonar issues or too-deep water, reports Perth Now. If no fresh evidence or trace of the plane has been found once its month-long mission wraps up, no future search missions will likely follow, reports NBC News. Though officials "remain hopeful," Australia's transport minister says that "we have to prepare ourselves for the prospect" that MH370, which disappeared in March 2014, will not be found, per the BBC.
Relatives of MH370's 239 victims plan to continue hunting for evidence of what happened to their loved ones, however. Frustrated by a lack of activity from Malaysian officials, family members from Malaysia, China, and France have banded together to search for debris, including on remote beaches in Madagascar, where Jiang Hui, 44, of China says he recently found a possible plane part. "I felt excited but at the same time it was saddening," he tells the Guardian. "It is a small piece and will not really be able to show what happened to the plane, but I hope so much that the authorities … will try to find more." Relatives have also handed out brochures in three languages that explain to locals what to do if plane parts are found, per the BBC. (Here's what debris has revealed so far.)