The fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people on board may remain a mystery forever. Malaysian, Australian, and Chinese authorities announced Tuesday that the deep-sea search has ended without finding any trace of the missing plane, Reuters reports. The last vessel has left the search area and "despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology ... unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft," authorities said in a statement issued after the families of passengers and crew were notified of the decision. "The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness." The Boeing 777 disappeared nearly three years ago en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
The three countries said last year that the search would be suspended after the 46,300-square mile search area in the Indian Ocean had been scoured. Australian experts recently recommended searching a 10,000-square-mile area to the north, but authorities appear to have lost confidence in the data, the Guardian reports. Families say they will keep fighting for the search to continue, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. "I never thought this day was going to come. I hoped it wouldn't happen this way," says Danica Weeks, whose husband, Paul, was on the plane. "It just can't end like this. The Malaysian government promised to bring them home. If they think this will go away, it definitely won't."