Channel 9 Today

Interview

DCI024/2017

08 March 2017

Subjects: Third anniversary—MH370 national memorial service

Karl Stefanovic: Exactly three years on and the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 remains a mystery. Today, the families of the seven Australians on that flight will be attending a service to remember their loved ones.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester is at the church in Brisbane where the service is taking place. Minister, good morning to you. Still a really tough time for families.

Darren Chester: Yes, good morning Karl. You're right, it's three years to the day and this will be an important service. It will be a chance for the families and friends to gather together, to pay their respects, to remember those who have been lost on MH370. We need to keep in mind there were seven people who called Australia home amongst the 239 passengers and crew. So it will be a sad day. But I've also spoken to some of the family members in the last couple of months and they've indicated it will be a bit of a celebration too of the lives of their loved ones.

Karl Stefanovic: What's the most common thing they say amongst each other?

Darren Chester: Well the family members that I've spoken to are frustrated and disappointed with the lack of answers after three years. They were very hopeful that we would be able to find the wreckage and be able provide them with some more answers to the questions that they obviously have. We have been successful, I guess, in locating three pieces of debris that have been confirmed as coming from MH370. Another four pieces almost certainly have come from MH370, but don't have that identifying serial number on them. But, I mean, it is a challenging time for the family members, they've had three years of not knowing the final answers, not knowing the resting place of their loved ones and it's a challenging time for them. But I think the memorial service today will be a good event in that regard, allowing people to get together and reflect on their loved ones and share some memories, but it doesn't change the fact that there's still a lot of questions left to be answered.

Karl Stefanovic: The victims' families have launched a campaign to fund a private search for the aircraft. Is that something the Government will be supporting?

Darren Chester: Well supporting in the sense, Karl, that we'll certainly provide the information that we've already gathered over the 120,000 square kilometre search area. So that information will be available to anyone who decides to conduct a further search. We've got to keep in mind, Karl, this is a very challenging area to search. We're talking about a section of ocean which is 2600 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia, we're talking about ocean depths in excess of 4 kilometres, up to 6 kilometres deep. It takes very specialised equipment to undertake that type of search effort. So I'm not going to stand here today and tell people they shouldn't be conducting further searches or supporting a private fundraising effort, but it would be a very challenging search for the private sector to take on by itself.

Karl Stefanovic: Yeah and let's hope everyone can wrap their arms around that family today. It will be very difficult and then hopefully, as you said, also a celebration for them today. Our thoughts are with them.

Thank you very much for your time today, appreciate it.

Darren Chester: Thank you for your time, Karl.