Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Families of MH370 passengers walk out of glitch-ridden Malaysia Airlines video conference

Families accuse Malaysia Airlines of breaking its promises after video call fails to receive audio

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 6:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 8:22am

Relatives of passengers on board missing Flight 370 stormed out of a meeting room in Beijing after technical problems plagued a video conference with Malaysia Airlines staff in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The morning meeting, which was delayed by 20 minutes, ended abruptly when the relatives received only visuals but no audio from the Malaysian side.

The approximately 200 relatives in attendance refused to continue the meeting and left the conference hall at the Metropark Lido Hotel in protest.

Calling those who appeared on the screen "liars", the relatives said the airline had promised to hold face-to-face meetings in Beijing and give updates every five days after the Malaysian government last month announced the flight had "ended" in the Indian Ocean.

But the meetings had been suspended since April 3.

Jiang Hui, the relatives' representative, said: "The Malaysian side has repeatedly failed to deliver what they promised. I don't think we can communicate via such video meetings. They have not sent anyone over for the past 13 days.

"We have many technical questions and other questions that we wish to talk to them about face to face. It's difficult to understand each other correctly through video conferencing, which, to make things worse, has to rely on translators."

Staff from the Malaysian embassy, who co-ordinated the meeting, did not offer any explanation for the incident.

Relatives held their own discussion on some technical questions about the flight and the search operation that they wanted to raise with the Malaysian authorities.

They wanted to know the serial number and manufacturing date of the aircraft's black boxes and if the aircraft's emergency locator transmitter would switch to an alarm mode and float on the surface if the plane hit water. They were also seeking details on the recording of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department's instructions to the flight.

The relatives have asked for the contact numbers of engineers from the airline, British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the US National Transportation Safety Board, which are involved in the investigation. Malaysian technicians sent to speak to the relatives were not giving satisfactory answers, they said.