Anger grows as wait continues for news of missing Malaysian Airlines flight | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 26, 2015
  • Updated: 9:01am
Malaysia Airlines flight 370
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Anger grows as wait continues for news of missing Malaysian Airlines flight

Anxious relatives question whether enough is being done by either Malaysia Airlines or Beijing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 12:13am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 10:20am

Relatives of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight endured a third tense day of waiting to hear news about their loved ones, with some furious with what they called the paltry information being shared by the airline and the Chinese government.

Anxious family members criticised Chinese officials who met them for a briefing. Some questioned if the central government was doing enough to investigate the plane's disappearance over the South China Sea.

"We are very dissatisfied. They didn't show up until now - 60 hours later," said a man who identified himself as Ding from Dingzhou, Hebei province. "Now they have come, but still didn't offer any details about how to help us."

I don't believe that they simply cannot find where it is
Mr Wang from Hebei

A woman who said she was surnamed Peng and also from Hebei said she was hoping for news of her brother-in-law.

"Really, just put all the effort into searching," she said. "Let us see either the loved ones or at least their bodies. We don't know anything now."

Relatives said Malaysia Airlines was not offering timely updates, and they were forced to get most of their information from Sina Weibo and other media.

A man called Wang from Hebei, whose son-in-law was onboard, said he suspected that the airline was withholding information from them intentionally.

"I understand that it is hard to salvage the plane, but I don't believe that they simply cannot find where it is," he said.

Watch: Missing Chinese passengers' families scramble for passport, visa

Also yesterday, representatives from Malaysia Airlines said it would pay a week's expenses for each family that wished to travel to Kuala Lumpur. A relation who identified himself only as Zhou said just a few people had raised their hands to go.

"Currently, in our group, no one wants to go to Kuala Lumpur, unless Malaysia Airlines provides us with the exact location of the [missing] flight. Even if we go there, the only thing we can do is wait," said one representative of the relatives.

"If we go, we hope someone who understands the mechanism of aircraft and officials from the foreign ministry will go with us."

The relatives said they hoped that by banding together, they could gather more information.

One family member said people feared that they would be closely monitored in Malaysia.

"We have heard that the hotel in Malaysia is not that good, and we will be guarded by police. This made us even less willing to go," said a family member.

The Beijing News reported that relatives met officials from the foreign ministry, the Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and Beijing's municipal government.

Liu Zhi, a deputy secretary general of Beijing's city government, said that the central government was pursuing family members' grievances with Malaysia Airlines through the civil aviation administration.

Family members from Beijing were among the first to arrive at the Lido Hotel in Beijing. After two days, more than 20 of them started to communicate with each other in a WeChat circle.

A joint team of 13 Chinese government officials have left for Kuala Lumpur. Team leader Guo Shaochun told the state-run CCTV that one major task would be to provide help to family members, and ensure their safety and comfort in Malaysia.

Psychologist Paul Yin, who lives near the hotel where the relatives are staying, volunteered to counsel family members.

"It is a difficult path that they are walking. What they need is someone who understands and will walk with them," he said.

 


TEMPERING HOPE

Relatives of Chinese passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight were holding onto a "thin ray of hope" their loved ones were alive, a psychologist said.

Flight MH370 disappeared an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early on Saturday, leaving families of more than 150 Chinese on board facing the grim reality that their loved ones could have perished.

But Paul Yin, a US-trained psychologist who has been working with some of the relatives, said many refused to believe the worst.

"I think most of them are holding onto that thin ray of hope," he said at the Metropark Lido Hotel, where the families have been directed to wait for information by the airline.

"Whether they believe it to be realistic or not, most of them are not letting it go."

Yin said he arrived at the hotel on Sunday, supporting a friend who had a loved one on the flight, and had stayed to give psychological help to others.

He had been supporting other families by telephone soon after the plane was lost, he said.

Many of the families would not want to travel to Malaysia, he added, despite transport being offered by the airline.

"I think the families are looking for a stronger system of support, and I think they would feel too isolated if they go to Malaysia," he said.

It was important not to "overstate the hopes" to families that their relatives could have survived, he emphasised.

Otherwise, he said, "you set them up for a bigger fall, which is a dangerous thing to do".

Agence France-Presse

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