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Husband Of Malaysia Airlines Passenger Responds To End Of Search


After nearly three years 46,000 square miles and $160 million, the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is over. Australia, China and Malaysia have officially suspended the hunt for the missing jet. They say they might reopen it if, quote, "credible new information" pointing to a specific location emerges. The plane disappeared while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014. Two hundred thirty-nine people were onboard, including the wife of K.S. Narendran. He is with us now on Skype from Chennai, India. Welcome, sir.

K S NARENDRAN: Thank you.

MCEVERS: Your wife's name is Chandrika Sharma. Is that right?

NARENDRAN: That is correct.

MCEVERS: And, as I said, you lost her on that flight. What do you think about this decision to suspend the search for the plane?

NARENDRAN: I think this decision is deeply disappointing, very unfortunate. And through the day, I've just felt quite rushed and very angry. More than anything else, the decision seems like a betrayal of a certain commitment that the government, militia and its search partners, China and Australia, made to the families and the flying public from the very beginning. And that three years - close to three years down the road, it seems that that commitment doesn't hold anymore.

MCEVERS: In a statement from all three governments, Australia, Malaysia and China, they said, quote, "despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft." So it sounds like they're saying, you know, they're using the best science they have. And they just couldn't get the job done.

NARENDRAN: The experts that the governments have put together have looked at all the new evidence. And they have actually come up with a recommendation to search another 25,000 square kilometers a little north of the current search area. And they believe that that constitutes their best chance of finding the aircraft. Now, they're pulling back and winding down when they have the - probably, the best chance of finding something, you know? So it's a little surprising.

MCEVERS: In your own life, I understand that one of the ways that you've gone through this is you write...


MCEVERS: ...Imagined conversations between yourself and your wife. What did those sound like?

NARENDRAN: You know, there are so many occasions that feel - so many years that we spent together - that a lot of the things would keep coming back. Every moment of the day had something associated with a time that we may have spent together. And they would keep coming back. And it was rather difficult to just see them as freeze frames. And, you know, so it was more like a video that was playing out right in front of my eyes day after day. And I thought it was one of the ways, perhaps, for me to, first of all, capture some of that and also, perhaps, to find a release from all of that was to actually write it down.

MCEVERS: Did it help?

NARENDRAN: I thought it did. I thought writing was a way that I found as a very meaningful process for myself. And it helped me in many ways. It helped me to clarify what - how I felt and what I was actually really thinking and also to make sense in a very cogent way about what the prospects were ahead of me and what choices lay in front of me. So, yes, it was very meaningful.

MCEVERS: Have you been able to have any kind of ceremony for her - funeral?

NARENDRAN: No, not really. We have had no ceremony. It's hard to think of one when you don't know what really happened. You don't know - when was the end? Where was the end? And it's been suggested to me by many of my friends and family that, perhaps, we should do something symbolic as a way of letting go.


NARENDRAN: But I don't know how to even construct something like that at this point in time.

MCEVERS: Wow. K.S. Narendran, whose wife, Chandrika Sharma, was aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, thank you very much.

NARENDRAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.