As It Happens

Search for MH370 suspended, leaving family members of missing Canadians without answers

After nearly three years, the search for Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has been called off. It was the most complicated and expensive in aviation history, but the mystery of the plane's fate remains unsolved.
Muktesh Mukherjee and Bai Xiaomo were aboard flight MH370 when it went missing. (Muktesh Mukherjee and Xiaomo Bai/Facebook)

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After nearly three years of searching, investigators have called off the hunt for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, leaving the father of a Canadian passenger with questions that may never be answered.

Closure would have been if we had known what happened to them, if we know where they were.- Malay Mukherjee

Malay Mukherjee's son Muktesh and his wife Xiaomo Bai were the only two Canadians on board the doomed aircraft. They were returning home from a vacation in Vietnam to Beijing, where they lived with their two young sons Mirav and Miles.

Malay Mukherjee speaking with CBC News in 2014 after the disappearance of flight MH370. (CBC)

In an interview with As It Happens guest host Helen Mann, Mukherjee said he was disappointed and saddened by the announcement.

"The feeling never goes away," he said. "Closure would have been if we had known what happened to them, if we know where they were. And, of course, if we had recovered even a small bit of the remembrance — what they were carrying with them."

The suspension of the search for MH370 was announced today in a joint statement by the governments of Malaysia, Australia and China.

Muktesh Mukherjee and Xiaomo Bai, pictured with their two children. (Muktesh Mukherjee/Facebook)

The search, which commenced after the flight disappeared on March 8, 2014, was the most expensive and complicated search in aviation history. It cost $160-million and covered an area of 120,000 square kilometres.

The question which is the most difficult to answer, especially the question which the elder grandson puts to us: 'Did they suffer?' And that's a very difficult question to answer.- Malay Mukherjee

But all that is of little solace to Mukherjee.

"In this world of ours, where we can track even a parcel going from one country to another at different stages by the hour, that technology didn't help even in finding a plane," he said. "That has been for me the saddest part of the whole incident."

The father of a Canadian man who was on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet speaks out 1:17

Mukherjee is now the guardian for his two grandsons and lives with them in Delhi, India. He said raising the boys has given him some solace and he hopes that, even if he never learns what happened to his son and daughter-in-law, at least their children will.

"They keep on asking what really happened," he said. "The question which is the most difficult to answer, especially the question which the elder grandson puts to us: 'Did they suffer?' And that's a very difficult question to answer."