Tears and prayers for loved ones
Updated: 2014-03-08 14:40
By Xu Wei (chinadaily.com.cn)
For relatives and friends of the passengers on board the still missing Malaysian flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the wait has been long and the shock very hard to absorb.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with 239 passengers, including 154 Chinese, lost contact with flight controllers shortly after take-off from Kuala Lumpur early on Saturday.
Hours later, at roughly 2pm, it was reported the plane had crashed into the waters of the coast of southern Vietnam. With information scarce and no new
|Familes and friends await words|
"We knew nothing about the flight except that it was delayed. It was through a micro blog that I knew it was missing," said Zhang Jianhui, a 36-year-old Malaysian who was waiting for his friend, whom he only identified as Cheung, and his wife at around 10 am at the international arrival hall of Beijing airport’s Terminal 3.
Zhang’s wife, Zhai Le, a 33-year-old Malaysian Chinese, said they were hosting their friend for a tour around China and had been at the airport since around 6 am, when the airline was scheduled to arrive.
"We were planning to visit the Palace Museum and other tourist spots in Beijing. Later, we planned to go to Xi’an to see the terracotta warriors," he said.
Zhang’s friend was in the construction business in Malaysia, he said.
"Now the only thing we can do is wait," said Zhai.
Some of the loved ones of the passengers unleashed their emotions and shed tears when faced by the media. Most declined interview requests before they were escorted away by airport security and driven to a designated hotel.
Some were unhappy with the slow reaction from the airlines.
"Nobody contacted us and we knew nothing until we saw the news on the TV," said a man who was at the airport with his sister.
His sister, who had her daughter, daughter-in-law and their child on board the flight declined an interview request.
For many, social media has been the sole channel for them to learn about the latest information.
The flight information board of international arrivals at the Beijing Capital International Airport showed that the airline was delayed until 12pm Saturday.
It was removed from the flight info board at approximately 1pm.
Liu Mengmeng, who works for a foreign company in Beijing, said he arrived at the airport to pick up an executive of his firm, only to find that he had to face a long wait.
"I can do nothing but keep scrolling on my phone screen for the latest information," he said.
Others said they were merely told to wait for the latest news.
"I contacted the airlines and they told me to just wait," said a man surnamed Xiao who was picking up the wife of his boss at the airport.
Xiao, who works for a foreign company in Beijing, said his boss was on board another flight to Beijing and his wife is French.
The arrival hall was packed with media on Saturday morning and the loved ones of the passengers on board the flight were soon mobbed by reporters.
Later, the airport strictly limited media access to the worried relatives and friends of the passengers.