Missing Malaysia jet MH370: 'Whistleblower fund' set up

Search for Malaysia Airlines plane. Photo: April 2014 A huge multinational search operation was mounted for the missing plane, but no trace has been found

A fund-raising drive has been launched by relatives of some passengers on the missing Malaysian plane to seek information on flight MH370.

The campaign, spearheaded by an Australian businessman, aims to raise at least $5m (£2.9m) "to encourage a whistleblower to come forward".

Flight MH370 went missing on 8 March as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Officials say they are reviewing search data, having failed to find any trace of the plane so far.

They continue to survey the sea floor and are bringing in specialist equipment,

Using satellite data, officials have concluded that the airliner, which had 239 people on board, ended its journey in the Indian Ocean, north-west of the Australian city of Perth.

A submersible robot carried out an extensive search of the area in the Indian Ocean where acoustic signals had been detected, but could not locate the plane's flight recorders.

There is no explanation for the plane's disappearance.

The "Reward MH370" project is being co-ordinated by Ethan Hunt, an Australian who lives in Hong Kong but has no connection with any of the missing plane passengers.

Mr Hunt told the BBC: "I came up with the idea of crowd-funding the reward. It took me eight weeks to contact family members. In the beginning, no-one was interested, but then a couple of them did come on board."

"Somewhere, somebody knows the answers to what happened to the flight and possibly where the flight is," he said, adding that it could be someone linked to secret services or someone linked to terrorist networks.

The campaign says it is being led by five of the relatives.

Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood was on board, said families wanted to look at the tragedy with "a fresh set of eyes".

"Governments and agencies have given it their best shot but have failed to turn up a single shred of evidence, either because of a faulty approach or due to intentional misdirection by one or more individuals," she said.

Danica Weeks, wife of Paul Weeks, another missing passenger, said: "We've been cut off so many times at the gate that we're just now having to take things into our own hands, think outside the box and just try and do something to find this plane."

Ocean floor The depth numbers in the map are estimates, with 95% of the view built from satellite altimetry data
File image of the towed pinger locator used to listen out for "black box" flight recorders The towed pinger locator was deployed in an area defined by satellite data from the missing plane
File image of the Bluefin-21 aboard Australian vessel Ocean Shield After the pinger locator heard signals, the robot submersible Bluefin-21 was deployed, but found no trace of the plane

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