Relatives of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 passengers yesterday handed a letter to China's special envoy in Kuala Lumpur, blasting Malaysia's handling of the crisis as "inhumane" after a frustrating day in which the search for wreckage was called off.
The letter accused Malaysia of missing a crucial search window and said remarks by Prime Minister Najib Razak that the plane had "ended" over the ocean had added to 18 days of "pain and torture".
"The way the Malaysian authorities are handling the incident is inhumane and irresponsible and shows disrespect to life," the letter said. "As relatives of the passengers, we have to express our anger and disappointment."
During the meeting in Kuala Lumpur relatives also called on China not to scale down the rescue effort and to press Malaysia for an apology for delays in the operation.
In a message of support, the envoy, deputy foreign minister Zhang Yesui , told the families: "Our government is with you together, and we totally understand your difficulties and sadness," Xinhua reported.
The meeting followed a day of frustration during which air search crews were grounded by stormy weather over the Indian Ocean, leaving only ships to scour the seas.
Last night further evidence of a possible debris field emerged after Thailand released satellite images that appeared to show more than 300 objects measuring up to 15 metres in the sea some 2,700 kilometres from Perth.
"We detected floating objects, perhaps more than 300," said Anond Snidvongs, the head of Thailand's space technology development agency.
"We have never said that the pieces are part of MH370 but have so far identified them only as floating objects."
In Beijing a number of families spent a second day meeting Malaysian officials who attempted to explain why they believed the plane was lost at sea.
"It's been 19 days already, but we feel they are still holding up a lot of information. We are exhausted, but as long as there is hope of finding our relatives, we will exert all effort," said Steve Wang, whose mother was on board the flight.
Perth's Bureau of Meteorology spokesman, Neil Bennett, said weather in the search area was "likely to improve throughout Friday", but added that crews would be competing with cycles of rough weather if operations dragged on.
Dr Alec Duncan, an oceanographer from Curtin University in Perth, said search teams trying to locate the plane's black box data recorders using a device towed by ships "should be able to search several hundred square kilometres every day in good weather".
Last night Najib Razak met Philippine President Benigno Aquino in Manila to witness the historic signing of a peace deal between the Philippine government and Muslim insurgents brokered by his government.
Additional reporting by Kristine Kwok