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Questions linger as Malaysia marks two years since MH370 disappearance
[KUALA LUMPUR] Investigators probing the MH370 mystery will release an annual statement, and Malaysia's parliament will observe a solemn moment of silence to mark two years since the plane's baffling disappearance.
The anniversary rolls around with relatives increasingly anxious over plans to end the challenging search for an Indian Ocean crash site and with Malaysia Airlines facing a slew of lawsuits over the disaster.
A team of international investigators set up nearly two years ago will issue an annual update of its findings at 3.00pm in Kuala Lumpur (0700 GMT).
There has been no indication the statement would contain new insights into what actually happened on March 8, 2014, when the plane vanished during an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew.
The team includes investigators from the US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) and its counterparts from other countries.
It is required under international rules to release an annual statement regardless of whether new information has emerged.
Its first report, issued on the one-year anniversary, shed no new light on what remains one of aviation's greatest mysteries.
Analysts believe MH370 veered far off course to the remote southern Indian Ocean, where it went down.
Theories of what caused the disappearance include a possible mechanical or structural failure, a hijacking or terror plot, or rogue pilot action. But nothing has emerged to support any single scenario.
An extensive two-year search led by Australia, which aims to locate debris on the seafloor and possibly retrieve the black boxes, has come up empty.
A wing fragment was found on an island thousands of kilometres from the search area last July and later confirmed to be from MH370, the first proof that the plane went down.
Two new pieces of debris found in the past week have raised anticipation ahead of the anniversary, but are yet to be confirmed as from MH370.
Families have recently stepped up calls for the search to carry on and even be expanded after the designated search zone - an area the size of North Korea - has been fully scanned, which is expected around June.
Australian, Malaysian and Chinese authorities plan to end the search - projected to cost up to US$130 million - at that point if no compelling new leads pointing to an actual crash site emerge.
The second anniversary also is the deadline for filing lawsuits against the airline.
Families of scores of passengers have in recent days and weeks filed lawsuits in the United States, Malaysia, China, Australia and elsewhere, seeking damages over the disaster.
Some others have reached settlements for undisclosed amounts, according to attorneys.
Citing imprecise satellite data indicating the plane's movements, search authorities believe the plane veered off course and flew for hours to the remote southern Indian Ocean, where it went down.
But many relatives remain unconvinced that they are searching in the right place.
Many remain furious with the airline and Malaysian government, accusing them of letting the plane slip away through a bungled response, withholding information on what happened, and treating grieving relatives insensitively.