Families of flight MH370 passengers 'need closure'

Updated: 2014-03-31 07:27

By Karl Wilson (China Daily)

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Families of flight MH370 passengers 'need closure'

Workers help secure a Phoenix underwater mapping robot before moving it onto the dock of the HMAS Stirling naval base, near Perth, Australia, on Sunday. The device will help map the location of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. [Photo/Agencies]

Sammy Yap feels the pain.

"I didn't lose anyone on the flight," he said. "But you can't help but feel for all the families who have lost loved ones ... people you hugged and said goodbye to at the airport that night or were waiting at the other end to greet them. The fact they never walked through the arrivals hall that morning must have been devastating.

"I feel for every single one ... their pain, their loss, and not knowing what happened."

As the international search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 enters its fourth week, it is a race against time for the Boeing 777's black box and perhaps unlocking the mystery of how the Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight ended up in the Indian Ocean 1,850 km west of Perth.

Ships from the Australian and Chinese navies and aircraft from seven countries are scouring a search area of some 320,000 square km for wreckage. Debris was found over the weekend but on closer examination it was found to be from fishing boats. The pilots and crews manning the aircraft are confident, however, they will find "something".

The ship carrying the Towed Ping Locator and Bluefin-21 underwater drone, which uses sonar to scan the sea floor for wreckage, leaves Fremantle port south of Perth on Monday and is not expected in the search area until later in the week.

"I hope something turns up this week," Malaysian-born Yap said.

"People need closure."

Families of flight MH370 passengers 'need closure'

The West Australian civil servant, who came to Australia 35 years ago with his parents, has for the past three years been president of the Chung Wah Association.

Yap, whose grandparents were from China, is seated in a modest office in the association's 100-year-old hall in Perth's Chinatown.

"Since last Tuesday, we have been overwhelmed with people offering help and support for the relatives of those killed on board the aircraft," he said.

"These are ordinary people. Some are even offering to open their homes to the relatives if they come to Perth."

Yap believes most of the relatives of the 239 passengers (most of them from China) aboard the flight will come from China.

He said he did not know numbers, but the community is working closely with the Australian government and hotels to make their trip as comfortable as possible.

"I had a guy who I have not seen for 10 years call me to say 'Sammy whatever you need. Just ask.'

"It just shows you the kindness of people.

"Sometimes it takes a tragedy like this to bring the best out in people."

Contact the writer at karlwilson@chinadailyapac.com