MH370 relatives demand answers

Updated: 2014-03-31 07:26

By Jin Haixing (China Daily)

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MH370 relatives demand answers

Families of some Chinese passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. [Photo by Zhang Hao/For China Daily]

MH370 relatives demand answersFrustration builds as search for plane enters fourth week

About 50 family members of the Chinese passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 called for answers at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, as the search for the aircraft comes under increasing time pressure.

After their arrival in the Malaysian capital on Sunday morning, 35 relatives, in addition to about 10 who had been there for more than two weeks, held a news conference at about 3 pm, calling for "evidence, truth and the return of family members".

On March 8, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 to Beijing went missing shortly after it took off from Kuala Lumpur carrying 239 people, including 154 Chinese.

Jiang Hui, a representative of the group, made three requests of the Malaysian government and Malaysia Airlines: timely and comprehensive answers to questions from relatives, an apology for the confusing information which led to a delay in the search, and an apology for announcing the aircraft crashed without direct evidence.

Relatives are also asking for a meeting with Boeing, engine maker Rolls Royce and satellite company Inmarsat, whose information was crucial in leading the Malaysian government to make its judgment on the crash.

The disappearance of MH370 has been shrouded in many unresolved questions, including a mysterious change of course and frequent changes of information disclosure.

Anxiety grows as black box's battery runs down

The family members said they would seek to communicate with the Malaysian government, Malaysia Airlines, and the search and rescue expert teams with the help from the Chinese embassy and would refrain from emotional protests like in Beijing on Tuesday.

"We will express our requests rationally and legally," Jiang said.

On the arrival of the relatives, Chinese Ambassador Huang Kanghui and Ong Ka Ting, the Malaysian prime minister's special envoy to China, greeted them at the hotel.

"I'm sure in Beijing they've already had a lot of discussions, and we understand their feelings, and we know that definitely by coming over here there will be a lot more discussions and meetings," Ong said. "So we try our best to assist them."

In Beijing, another senior relative, who chose not to go to Kuala Lumpur, said he was not satisfied with the responses in the daily briefings held by Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government, although he understood that the working team sent to Beijing did not get enough information to be released to relatives.

"Our family will not go to Malaysia because there was not that much information there either. However, relatives in Malaysia could better express their demands as they could meet Malaysian government officials as well as the working team from China," he said.

The families' anxiety is increasing further as the flight data recorder, also known as the black box, faces the end of its battery life, which usually lasts for about one month.

Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, which carries black box detecting devices, will start work on Monday, but it will take three to four days to arrive in the search zone.

On Sunday, a Chinese air force Ilyushin 76 became the first of nine aircraft to leave a search base in Perth, West Australia.

Four Chinese navy vessels and three civilian vessels arrived in the 320,000 square kilometers designated area on Sunday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the search efforts as positive because objects "have been recovered from the ocean".

Hou Liqiang contributed to this story.