6 months since MH370 vanished without a trace, grim reminders of aviation mystery linger

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6 months since MH370 vanished without a trace, grim reminders of aviation mystery linger
Work has begun on collecting the wreckage of downed Malaysia Airlines plane MH17 in Ukraine.
Yenny, the sister of Sugianto Lo who was onboard the Malaysia Airlines plane MH370, weeps on the couch as she watches a news update on the search of the wreckage of the jetliner at their family residence in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. After 17 days of desperation and doubt over the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the country's officials said an analysis of satellite data points to a "heartbreaking" conclusion: Flight 370 met its end in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, and none of those aboard survived. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
Information Manager Flight Lieutenant Stephen Graham studies notes aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion maritime search aircraft as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean looking for debris from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on April 11, 2014. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he is 'very confident' that signals detected in the search for Flight MH370 are from the aircraft's black box, whose batteries are waning fast more than a month after the plane vanished. AFP PHOTO / POOL (Photo credit should read RICHARD POLDEN/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on March 10, 2014 shows Joshua Law Kok Hwa (centre R), Malaysia Airlines' regional senior vice president of China, speaking to the media at the Lido Hotel in Beijing. Relatives of Chinese passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were still clutching to faint straws of hope for their loved ones on March 11, four days after the aircraft went missing. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A man stands in front of a billboard in support of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as Chinese relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have a meeting at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 23, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris.. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
AT SEA - APRIL 17: In this handout image provided by Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence, Commander James Lybrand Mission Commander ADV Ocean Shield (L)and Chris 'Sharkie' Moore, Phoenix Team Lead, watch the launching the Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis off the deck of ADV Ocean Shield on April 17, 2014. Twenty-six nations have been involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 since it disappeared more than a month ago. The Malaysian Airways aircraft went missing on 8th March 2014 whilst on a flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. (Photo by LSIS Bradley Darvill/Australia Department of Defence via Getty Images)
Australian flight Lieutenant and pilot Benn Carroll speaks to the media after bringing his Orion aircraft back to Pearce Airbase in Bullsbrook, 35 kms north of Perth on April 8, 2014 after assisting in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Ships listening for undersea signals from Flight MH370 have failed to detect any more 'pings' and will spend several more days trying to pinpoint a crash site before a mini-sub is launched to scour the seabed, searchers said on April 8. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken aboard a Vietnamese Air Force Russian-made MI-171 helicopter shows a crew member checking a map during a search flight some 200 km over the southern Vietnamese waters off Vietnam's island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014 as part of continued efforts aimed at finding traces of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. Malaysian police said on March 11 one of two suspect passengers who boarded a missing passenger jet was an Iranian illegal immigrant, as relatives of some of the 239 people on board said they were losing hope for a miracle. AFP PHOTO / HOANG DINH NAM (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative (C) of a passenger on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 offers prayers at the Lama Temple in Beijing on June 15, 2014. Chinese relatives marked 100 days since the plane went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Beijing by offering prayers and burning incense at the buddhist temple. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, second from right, accompanied by his wife, Marsilla Tengku Abdullah, third from right, presents a cap of his own to Maira Elizabeth, third from left, daughter of Andrew Nari, the chief steward who was on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after the opening of the MH370 Tribute Photo Exhibition organized by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, July 6, 2014. A Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8 carrying 239 people lost contact over the South China Sea on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (ret'd) holds a map outlining the current search areas of naval ships Ocean Shield and Haixun 01 during a press conference for the continuing search of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at Dumas House on April 7, 2014 in Perth, Australia. Angus Houston confirmed today that the Australian naval vessel Ocean Shield has twice detected signals in the past 24 hours consitent with aircraft black boxes. The airliner disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and is suspected to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
INDIAN OCEAN - This handout Satellite image made available by the AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) shows a map of the planned search area for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 on March 21, 2014. Australian authorities yesterday received satellite imagery that shows two large objects in the Indian Ocean that may be debris from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. The airliner went missing nearly two weeks ago carrying 239 passengers and crew on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. (Photo by AMSA via Getty Images)
Organizers arrange black ribbons during a ceremony in memory of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Australian officials say search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have been suspended for the day due to bad weather. The flags are on half-mast to show solidarity and empathy with the family members of the passengers and crew of flight MH370. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
AT SEA - APRIL 10: In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy, Naval Aircrewman (Operator) 2nd Class Karl Shinn, assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, searches out the window of a P-8A Poseidon during a search mission to locate Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on April 10, 2014 while flying over the Indian Ocean. VP-16 is deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (Photo by Keith DeVinney/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 7th Apr, 2014. Malaysians gather during a candlelight vigil for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia early on April 8, 2014.Candlelight vigil for the 239 people on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 marking a month since the plane disappeared on 8 March 2014.Photo: Mohd FIrdaus/NurPhoto © Firdaus Latif/NurPhoto/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News
A family member of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane reacts while watching a live broadcast of a press conference by Malaysian acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on the latest developments in the search for flight MH370, at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Malaysia said Tuesday that it had shifted the search are for a downed jetliner to an area in the southern Indian Ocean, while Australia said improved weather would allow a hunt for possible debris from the plane to resume. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)
IN FLIGHT - APRIL 11: Co-pilot and Squadron Leader Brett McKenzie of the Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) P-3K2-Orion aircraft, helps to look for objects during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in flight over the Indian Ocean on April 13, 2014 off the coast of Perth, Australia. Search and rescue officials in Australia are confident they know the approximate position of the black box recorders from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday. At the same time, however, the head of the agency coordinating the search said that the latest 'ping' signal, which was captured by a listening device buoy on Thursday, was not related to the plane. (Photo by Greg Wood - Pool/Getty Images)
INDIAN OCEAN - This handout Satellite image made available by the AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) shows a map of the planned search area for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 on March 27, 2014. New images overnight have been released by a French satellite which have found 122 objects in the Southern Indian Ocean which may be debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Six countries have joined the search, now considered to be a recovery effort, after authorities have announced that airliner crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean and that there are no survivors. (Photo by AMSA via Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (ret'd) holds a map outlining the current search areas of naval ships Ocean Shield and Haixun 01 during a press conference for the continuing search of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at Dumas House on April 7, 2014 in Perth, Australia. Angus Houston confirmed today that the Australian naval vessel Ocean Shield has twice detected signals in the past 24 hours consitent with aircraft black boxes. The airliner disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and is suspected to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH Malaysia-China-Australia-aviation-relatives-India-US,FEATURE BY JULIA ZAPPEI In a photo taken on July 15, 2014, Sarah Bajc, an American, whose partner, Philip Wood, was on flight MH370, speaking during an interview with Agence France-Presse in Kuala Lumpur. She is one of hundreds of relatives who -- desperate to learn the fate of their loved ones -- are channeling their grief in a cross-border, social-media-enabled, but so far frustrating citizen campaign to solve aviation's greatest mystery. The group, calling itself Voice370 with some 300 members, receives and debates advice from aviation, legal and other experts, while similar groups formed after previous disasters such as the 2009 Air France crash offer support. Bajc said MH17 underlines the importance of Voice370, particularly the need to highlight 'critical flaws' in global aviation and police 'incompetent' airlines and authorities that endanger passengers. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 08: (CHINA OUT) Joshua Law Kok Hwa, Malaysia Airlines' regional senior vice president of China, speaks at a conference regarding the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 at the Metropark Lido Hotel on March 8, 2014, in Beijing, China. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and carrying 239 onboard was reported missing after the crew failed to check in as scheduled while flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, according to published reports. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
FILE - In this March 8, 2014 photo, a family member of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane is mobbed by journalists at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. More than a day and a half has passed since the Boeing 777 jet disappeared from radar contact in the first hour of a six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to China’s capital. From France to Australia and China, families and friends are enduring an agonizing wait for news about flight MH370. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin, File)
Australian Defence Minister David Johnston (C) speaks during a media briefing on the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Pearce Airbase in Bullsbrook, 35 kms north of Perth on April 8, 2014. The hunt for underwater signals from missing Flight MH370 is likely to continue for days before a robot submersible is deployed to comb the seabed, the Australian search chief said. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
AT SEA - APRIL 8: In this handout provided by the Australian Department of Defence, Leading Seaman Aircrewman (LSA) Daniel Colbert winches LSA Joel Young into the water from HMAS Toowoomba's S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter Tiger 75 to retrieve possible debris April 8, 2014 at sea about 1,600 miles southwest of Perth, Australia. Twenty-six nations have been involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 since it disappeared more than a month ago. (Photo by Julianne Cropley/Australian Department of Defence via Getty Images)
AT SEA - APRIL 14: In this handout image provided by Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence, Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Bluefin-21 is in the water after being craned over the side of Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield to begin using its side scan sonar in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on April 14, 2014. Twenty-six nations have been involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 since it disappeared more than a month ago. (Photo by LEUT Kelli Lunt/Australia Department of Defence via Getty Images)
People hold a banner and candles during a candlelight vigil for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, March 10, 2014. The search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which has involved 34 aircraft and 40 ships from several countries covering a 50-nautical mile radius from the point the plane vanished from radar screens between Malaysia and Vietnam continues after its disappearance since Saturday. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
Visitors are silhouetted against a slideshow of best wishes for the missing Malaysia Airline, MH370, during an event at a shopping mall, in Petaling Jaya, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 18, 2014. A coalition of 26 countries, including Thailand, are looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Search crews are scouring two giant arcs of territory amounting to the size of Australia — half of it in the remote seas of the southern Indian Ocean. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 8, 2014 file photo, a woman, center, surrounded by the media covers her mouth on her arrival at a hotel which is prepared for relatives or friends of passengers aboard a missing airplane, in Beijing. More than a day and a half has passed since the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 jet disappeared from radar contact in the first hour of a six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to China’s capital. From France to Australia and China, families and friends are enduring an agonizing wait for news about flight MH370. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
Muslim men offer prayers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370, Thursday, March 13, 2014 in Sepang, Malaysia. Planes sent Thursday to check the spot where Chinese satellite images showed possible debris from the missing Malaysian jetliner found nothing, Malaysia's civil aviation chief said, deflating the latest lead in the six-day hunt. The hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been punctuated by false leads since it disappeared with 239 people aboard about an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Flight Officer Jack Chen uses binoculars at an observers window onboard a Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Southern Indian Ocean, Australia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
An object floats in the southern Indian Ocean in this picture taken from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, March 29, 2014. A day after the search for the Malaysian jetliner shifted to a new area of the Indian Ocean, ships on Saturday plucked objects from the sea to determine whether they were related to the missing jet. None were confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet three weeks after it disappeared. (AP Photo/Jason Reed/Pool)
A woman breaks into tears as she joins a ceremony in memory of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Australian officials said search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have been suspended for the day due to bad weather. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Volunteers from Taiwan's Buddhist association offer prayers for the Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a hotel in Beijing, China Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Although it has been slow, difficult and frustrating so far, the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is nowhere near the point of being scaled back, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. The three-week hunt for Flight 370 has turned up no sign of the Boeing 777, which vanished March 8 with 239 people bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Graphic shows the last know whereabouts and search area of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370; 4c x 4 1/4 inches; 195.7 mm x 107 mm;
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BY NICK MACFIE

(Reuters) - A father clutches his daughter's teddy bears, a woman holds her husband's car key, a newly-wed shows off a bedroom decorated for children yet to be born. Six months on, loved ones of passengers on a missing Malaysian airliner derive what comfort they can going forward from what's left behind.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 mostly Chinese people on board, disappeared on March 8 about an hour into a journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the world's greatest aviation mystery.

More than two dozen countries have been involved in the air, sea and underwater search for the Boeing 777 but months of sorties have failed to turn up any trace - even after narrowing the search area to the southern Indian Ocean - long after batteries on the black box voice and data recorders had gone flat.

Satellite pictures revealed debris analyzed endlessly in the media, leads which all proved fruitless.

The lack of news meant many families for a while clung to the hope that perhaps the plane landed somewhere safely and their loved ones were still alive.

Then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak somberly announced that, according to fresh analysis of satellite data, the jet had ended its journey in the remote southern Indian Ocean.

At the Beijing hotel where many of the relatives were staying, family members erupted in shouts and tears, in some cases dropping to the floor.

"It's not possible, it's not possible!" one woman screamed before collapsing.

In many cases, dashed hopes turned to anger, with overwrought relatives turning on Malaysian and Chinese authorities, shouting at briefings and throwing water bottles, blaming them for the slow progress in tracking down the plane.

One Chinese woman told Reuters she couldn't go out without taking her missing sister's handbag with her. Another agonized over the fact that the last phone call she had with her missing husband was an argument. His tea cup stays put on a desk, now covered in dust.

The focus of investigations varied over the months after clearing all 227 passengers of possible involvement in hijacking, sabotage or having personal or psychological problems that could have been connected to the disappearance.

Investigators say what little evidence they have to work with suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometers from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean.

The passengers and crew most likely died from suffocation and coasted lifelessly into the ocean on autopilot, an Australian report said in June.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss last week said that new information suggested that the airliner may have turned south earlier than previously believed and that as a result, the focus would be the southern area of the search zone.

That information was based in part on an attempt to map the position of the plane at the time of a failed satellite telephone call by Malaysia Airlines on the ground to the plane.

Malaysia Airlines was hit by a second tragedy in July when Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.

The MH17 disaster came just as some in Malaysia were beginning to get over what happened in March.

"For something like this to happen, just four months after MH370, just when we were beginning to get on with life, it is just very difficult to take," one airline executive told Reuters at Kuala Lumpur airport at the time, sobbing as he spoke.

"You can't imagine how draining it is, how emotional it is. Everyone can't believe this is happening again, we are going through all of the emotions once again."

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