(CNN) — Two years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished from radar screens, investigators say they still believe the missing airliner will be found.
The search operation to find the plane is expected to be completed later this year, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement Tuesday.
“We remain hopeful that MH370 will be found in the 120,000-square-kilometer area under investigation,” Najib said.
If it isn’t, officials said, Malaysia, Australia and China will meet to determine the next step.
The plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.
All of them are presumed dead, but some family members say they’re still holding out hope.
With the two-year anniversary of the Boeing 777’s disappearance comes a legal deadline for next of kin to file for compensation or sue Malaysia Airlines. Zhang Meiling, whose daughter was aboard the flight, said she has refused an offer of compensation and plans to sue, but that’s not what she really wants.
“Can this whole MH370 thing be solved with money? Where are our family members?” she said.
According to Malaysia Airlines, 118 families have started legal proceedings. Not Zhang.
“I only believe this: A mother and daughter’s hearts are connected,” she said. “If something had happened to my daughter, I really would’ve felt it. I think they’re safe.”
Is debris from missing plane?
Last week a team of experts traveled from Malaysia to Mozambique to examine a piece of debris that may have come from MH370.
The piece of debris, which came from the horizontal part of an airliner’s tail, was found by an American tourist in Mozambique and turned over to national authorities.
Officials haven’t said yet whether that plane part matches up.
Investigators have said another piece of debris found on Reunion Island last year does belong to the Malaysian jet.
‘An agonizing mystery’
Long after the plane’s disappearance, there are still more questions than answers. Key among them: Where is the wreckage? What caused the plane to go off course? Was it a mechanical fault or deliberate action?
Najib said the lingering questions aren’t lost on officials.
“We remain committed to doing everything within our means to solving what is an agonizing mystery for the loved ones of those who were lost,” he said. “On this most difficult of days, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who will never be forgotten.”