Danica Weeks was hoping for answers from the Malaysian Government about the disappearance of MH370 with the release of a
Danica Weeks was hoping for answers from the Malaysian Government about the disappearance of MH370 with the release of a "full report" by Malaysian authorities. Photo: Lyndon Mechielsen

‘I can’t tell my boys where their dad’s grave is’

FOUR-and-a-half years after Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from the skies over Asia, two little boys on the Sunshine Coast keep asking their mum where their dad's grave is and why can't they visit.

Danica Weeks, whose New Zealand-born husband Paul was one of 239 people on board the missing flight, says the seven and five-year-old are just like their father - persistent, driven.

"I know they will go on asking because they are very determined - just like Paul was," Danica tells Insight from her home on the Sunshine Coast.

"And they have every right to know what happened to their dad.

"Not knowing what happened to your loved one is incredibly difficult but that should be my cross to bear, not theirs as well."

File photo of Danica Weeks with her two children l-r Jack and Lincoln, taken last year at their home in Mt Coolum, Sunshine Coast.  Photo: Lyndon Mechielsen
File photo of Danica Weeks with her two children l-r Jack and Lincoln, taken last year at their home in Mt Coolum, Sunshine Coast. Photo: Lyndon Mechielsen

Like thousands of other people dotted across the globe, Danica was waiting eagerly on Monday for the release of what was once billed as the final report into the world's greatest aviation mystery.

Yet, according to her, and many of the victims' families, the report is not so much a whitewash as a total abrogation of responsibility by the Malaysian Government.

"That report contains nothing new - absolutely nothing we didn't know - it's just hundreds of pages of firewood," Danica says.

Six Australians as well as Paul were on the aircraft when it went missing on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

They included Brisbane couple Rod and Mary Burrows, Catherine and Robert Lawton from Ipswich, and Sydney couple Gu Naijun and Li Yuan.

Paul, just 38, was en route to Mongolia as part of his fly-in, fly-out work regime with mining contractor Transwest.

Karla McMaster holding a photograph of her late parents Rod and Mary Burrows at the Memorial service for families of MH370 victims at St John's Cathedral. Photo: Jamie Hanson
Karla McMaster holding a photograph of her late parents Rod and Mary Burrows at the Memorial service for families of MH370 victims at St John's Cathedral. Photo: Jamie Hanson

 

The flight left the ground at 41 minutes past midnight on March 8, 2014, and after 40 minutes Malaysian air traffic controllers received the now famous words "good night Malaysian three seven zero" before the plane entered Vietnamese air space.

Then MH370 reversed course back over Malaysia, flew over Penang and up the Malacca Strait, and then turned in a long track south.

The official report released Monday found the plane was fitted with four Emergency Locator Transmitters but each one of them had failed.

The independent report suggests the ELT signals could have been disrupted if the plane had entered water.

The 1100-page report by the official safety investigation team reiterated Malaysia's assertion MH370 was deliberately diverted and flown for more than seven hours after severing communications with Malaysian air traffic control.

A sombre Dr Kok Soo Chon, head of the MH370 Safety Investigation Team, told the Monday press conference that investigators from eight countries, including Australia, had reached a consensus about the final moments of MH370.

Catherine and Robert Lawton
Catherine and Robert Lawton

The team found the MH370 flight deviated from its path and changed direction over the Indian Ocean in a manual control, which "points irresistibly to unlawful interference".

"We can confirm the turn-back," Soo Chon said.

"We have carried out simulator sessions to determine how the aircraft turned back, and we can confirm that the turn-back was made, not under autopilot, but was made under manual control."

While the report was once billed as the final one, Soo Chon opened his press conference by saying further reports would follow if the wreckage were found.

From Danica's increasingly jaded perspective, it's highly unlikely the wreckage will be found when no one is looking.

The last official search was called off several months ago and Danica believes the Australian Government appears unwilling to apply pressure to Malaysia to resume the search, or even pursue the investigation further.

"I would like to see pressure applied to the Malaysians to get serious about the search," she says.

"Call in Elon Musk (co-founder and CEO at Tesla who offered his skills to help the boys trapped in a cave in Thailand last month).

"He seems to like getting involved in these sorts of things.

"We want to see pressure applied to find a resolution to this - why should our loved ones be collateral damage to diplomacy?"

The Australian Government has searched for the aircraft, with the search co-ordinator Angus Houston saying only weeks after the disappearance: "I'm optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not-too-distant future."

But the years have gone by with only fragments of MH370 being found, the most notable being a wing part (a flaperon) found on Reunion Island, east of Madagascar, in 2015.

The latest search mounted by US company Ocean Infinity, under a no-find,
no-fee arrangement with Malaysia, was officially wound up two months ago, but it is believed the company continue searching on an unofficial basis.

On the Sunshine Coast, the Weeks family, who relocated to Queensland from the Western Australian capital Peth after the loss of Paul, will continue to apply the pressure to find an answer to the question of MH370.

The Weeks are just a small part of a massive "community of loss" that crosses international borders.

That community contains some highly articulate and media-savvy personalities who will continue to agitate until this mystery is solved.

"It is simply not possible in this day and age that a plane-load of people disappears," Danica says.



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