Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Angry Chinese family members storm Malaysia press briefing to protest slow MH370 search

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 5:39pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 10:40am

Distraught family members of Chinese passengers who were on flight MH370 stormed a meeting room in Kuala Lumpur ahead of a Malaysian government press conference, as investigations into the missing airliner entered a 13th day but yielded few conclusive answers.

"Where are my sons, I need to know where they are," said one woman from Beijing.

A handful of relatives evaded heavy security at the Sama Sama Hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport and unfurled a banner saying: "We protest against the Malaysian government withholding information and holding up search efforts."

Not one Malaysian official has said one comforting word to us

The relatives burst into the hall as reporters were preparing for the latest update on search efforts to find the missing aircraft.

"It's been 12 days. How can the Malaysian government not let us know of our son's whereabouts?" one woman demanded.

"Not one Malaysian official has said one comforting word to us," she said.

The Beijing resident said they were a group of relatives of more than 20 passengers on the plane.

"The Chinese embassy has been sending its officers to talk to us and make sure we're fine every day, but not one Malaysian official has appeared," she said.

Shortly before the press briefing started, security guards corralled the protesters into a room opposite the conference hall and locked them in. The relatives were then held back from reporters as they were later led away.

Security officers grabbed onto one distressed relative in front of journalists, and appeared to pull her away against her will.

About 20 Chinese relatives of those on the plane have come to Kuala Lumpur in the past week. It is not clear how they managed to evade their minders in their respective hotels to make their way to the Sama Sama hotel, where the daily press briefing is held.

Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that it would now send out SMS alerts with brief updates to the families, in addition to phone calls.

Malaysian officials have been giving separate daily briefings to the families in Kuala Lumpur about the latest developments, including the scope of the search and points of interest in the investigation.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been monitoring the findings of an investigation team composed of the Federal Aviation Administration, the minister of transportation and other Malaysian agencies.

Twenty-six countries are participating in the search.

Families have been increasingly frustrated by the lack of definitive answers on where the jet went, and what happened to the 227 passengers and 12 crew.

Acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in yesterday's press conference that it was still time to "look for the aircraft" and not to apologise to the families yet.

"I actually understand what they are going through. Emotions are high and this is something that I discussed with the French delegation this morning," he said.

"We are sending another high-level team to Beijing to explain what we're doing and I hope and I appeal to everybody that I fully understand, we are trying our very best," he said.

Video: Chinese relatives furious over Malaysian plane search