Iman Mohd Hazrin has spent half of her life pining for her father, who along with 238 other passengers and crew, has been missing since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 vanished from radar screens on March 8, 2014.
Each night as she goes to bed, the 10-year-old keeps a photo nearby of her father, flight crew member Mohd Hazrin Mohamed Hasnan, never going a day without it.
“That framed photo never leaves her sight. Wherever she goes, it goes with her,” Iman’s mother, Intan Maizura Othaman, told BenarNews.
Five years ago Friday, flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled trip to Beijing.
But 40 minutes into what should have been a six-hour flight, its transponder was turned off and the plane veered from its course, according to news reports that cited findings from an official investigation into one of civil aviation’s greatest unsolved mysteries. The Boeing 777 flew for nearly eight hours and its last transmission showed the wide-bodied airliner flying south over the Indian Ocean.
Malaysian Minister of Transport Anthony Loke Siew Fook told BenarNews on Thursday that the government was willing to reopen search efforts if there was a suitable offer coming, but the government had yet to receive any.
Ocean Infinity, a U.S. seabed exploration company, ended its search for the missing airliner in May 2018 after more than three months of using underwater imaging technology to sweep an area of the southern Indian Ocean.
The company had signed a “no cure, no fee” contract with a 90-day timeframe in January 2018, more than a year after Australia, China and Malaysia officially called off their joint search efforts covering thousands of square miles of ocean waters off the western Australian coast.
‘She wanted to see her father’
Five years on, relatives of passengers and crew of MH370 are struggling with not knowing exactly what happened to their loved ones.
On Thursday after going a long time without crying, Iman burst into tears after her mother showed a picture of her as a 4-year-old with her father.
“She told me it has been a long time and she wanted to see her father,” Intan told BenarNews.
Iman’s brother, Muhammad, who is nearly 5 years old, was not born when his dad’s jumbo jet went missing but at times feels lost without his father, Intan said.
“I exposed him to Hazrin’s photos and videos. So he knows who his father is. As he grows older he has started asking where his father is and if he can meet him,” said Intan, who was six months pregnant at the time.
Intan credits her children with making her stronger.
“I would have gone crazy without my family, my kids. I tried to be strong for them,” she said.
Intan said life had been tough both emotionally and financially since her husband’s flight disappeared.
“I probably would not be here. I could have killed myself or ended up in the asylum – it was too much to bear,” she said.
“Being pregnant and having to endure the years of not knowing what really happened to my husband, but Alhamdulillah (thankful to god) things got better. Slowly... I have to be strong for my children,” she said.
Over the last five years, Intan kept herself busy hiking, participating in marathons and doing cross country runs.
She would try to bring her children along even carrying Muhammad on her back when mountain climbing.
“Memories. I want to spend time with them as much as I can. Doing things with them,” she said.
She still thinks about Hazrin.
“But I think he is now in a good hands. I do not know where or by whom, but I would like to think that way,” she said.
“It hurts not knowing what actually happened and where the plane is now after all these years, but I am trying to continue living so I can bring up the kids in the best way that I can as a single mother.”
Intan hopes search efforts can resume – and she is not the only survivor – who wants answers.
Jacquita Gonzales, whose husband Patrick Gomes was MH370’s inflight supervisor, has the same wish.
“I hope the government would accept an offer, if there is any, to conduct a search for the missing aircraft under ‘no cure, no fee’ terms. The government would not have to pay anything until it is found,” she told BenarNews.
The 57-year-old kindergarten teacher added that the MH370 case was not just about finding what happened or where the plane could be, but for the government to reexamine the tragedy so safety procedures can be improved.
“We want to fly and we want to fly safe and to avoid such an incident from happening again,” she said.
Hadi Azmi in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this story.