Lost just over hundred days ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370's whereabouts remain a huge mystery with no indication of unraveling any time soon. The plane disappeared March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Families of the more than 300 missing passengers and crew have waited in dismay and some have decided to take matters into their own hands, attempting to raise millions of ringgit (one ringgit equals about 30 U.S. cents) through a crowd-funding exercise to finance an independent investigation.
Desperate for closure, the loved ones of the missing Boeing 777-200ER jetliner last heard from over the South China Sea are left utterly confused, resentful and, of course, thoroughly saddened.
Confused, because of the many conspiracy theories concocted and the conflicting early reports of sightings as far away as in the Maldives airspace.
Resentful because they felt cheated of information and then to suddenly be faced with the sudden declaration that the plane had indeed ended in the depths of the southern Indian Ocean.
Saddened is but a natural consequence of that announcement.
Yet, that end is bereft of certainty because concrete evidence is absent and the search of the area decided upon by some so-called science only raised more questions than answers. Relief was not to be had.
Now, after 100 days, the prime minister can only reiterate earlier promises of his administration's refusal to surrender until the wide-bodied jet, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, is found.
As Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's former prime minister asserts when, in today's world, a small mobile phone can be tracked almost to the ends of the Earth, how is it that this massive object can be missed by all radar systems except that claimed final satellite handshake, which gave rise to a novel science looking set to be discredited.
Pings were heard and thought to be from the black box, but they are now presumed to be from similar tracking objects. Trawling the ocean floor proved to be an expensive exercise in futility.
Despite Dr. Mahathir's challenge to Boeing to explain what might have happened, the maker of the airplane is keeping mum.
Flight MH370 is Malaysia's nightmare in more ways than one. Unprecedented in aviation history, it challenges the ingenuity of a small, economically emerging nation.
Naturally, without answers, the matter lingers on not to be forgotten by friends and relatives of those who have literally disappeared; until the mystery is solved.
Then the financial calamity waiting on the horizon threatens the existence of the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines. There is, too, the question of who bears the cost of any continuing search mission.
However, the absence of irrefutable answers do give rise to some ray of hope.
Some fact may have been overlooked and those missing might still be with us, somewhere. And, for as long as conjectures form the basis of any explanation to this vanishing, then, every possibility is fair game, but ultimately fantasies must give way to facts.
It is difficult to not conclude that tragedy is inevitable.
Copyright New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Distributed by the Associated Press.