The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was officially nixed in January, and now Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators have submitted their final report, per the BBC. In it, they say it's "almost inconceivable" that, three and a half years after the Boeing 777 plunged into the water during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, it was never found. They add that it's "certainly societally unacceptable in the modern aviation era with 10 million passengers boarding commercial aircraft every day, for a large commercial aircraft to be missing and for the world not to know with certainty what became of the aircraft and those on board." The report, which the Washington Post calls "brutal," documents the lengthy search, as well as posits the belief that the plane is likely 9,700 square miles or so north of the original search area in the southern Indian Ocean.
Investigators outline the timeline, challenges, and what they've learned since the crash, noting "the understanding of where MH370 may be located is better now than it has ever been." Still, the grim conclusion: "The reasons for the loss of MH370 cannot be established with certainty until the aircraft is found." The Aussies have tapped out for good, however, noting the search would only be revived with "credible" new evidence, per the BBC. The Malaysian government is still investigating, with the wife of a passenger telling News.com.au "it can't end here." "We ... deeply regret that we have not been able to locate the aircraft, nor those 239 souls on board that remain missing," investigators conclude. "I hope … [the bereaved] can take some solace in the fact that we did all we could do to find answers," adds ATSB chief Greg Hood, per the Guardian. (Read more MH370 stories.)