Malaysia Airlines flight 17

Relatives of MH370 know exactly what it's like

Families of the still-lost flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March stayed up all last night, chatting to one another in light of the new tragedy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 2:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 3:22pm

The tragedy of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17) in Ukraine recalled some of the worst memories of relatives of people aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 370 (MH370), which disappeared on March 8 going from from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

When news arrived that MH17 – going from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur – had crashed near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine after being hit by a surface-to-air missile, many MH370 relatives stayed up all night and discussed their tragedy in their WeChat group.

“The back of my head felt numb. I could not believe that another tragedy had happened to a Malaysia Airlines flight,” said Bai Jie.

She first heard the news of MH17’s through one of her smartphone applications at 11.15pm. She then switched on her TV and joined the WeChat group discussion with other MH370 relatives.

Apart from the shock, most of them agreed that they would like to help the MH17 relatives communicating with the airline and giving moral support, Bai said.

“To some extent, the MH17 relatives are a bit luckier than we are. At least they have closure and know where the passengers are,” she said. “To us, it’s still a mystery where our loved ones are. Our torture and fear continue every day. “

Bai insists, however, that she and other MH370 relatives have not given up in the search for the missing plane. Each week about 30 members still take turns to talk to Malaysia Airlines representatives for updates on the plane search.

“Four months have passed, and we’ve had minor updates about the plane search. They are like an old train stuck on one track, not moving much,” said Jiang Hui, a member of the MH370 Relatives Aid Group.

Jiang feared their bad communication experience with the airline would also happen to the MH17 relatives. He said the families of the passengers aboard the two planes should help one another.

“I don’t think we have different concerns to divide the attention of Malaysia Airlines. The new crash drove the old train to slightly change the direction of its track,” he said.

“But the essence is that the train has moved too slowly. All the relatives should unite and make the train move faster and give us the answers to the questions we’ve been asking. “