Malaysia's prime minister pledged to release a report on flight MH370's disappearance as families of the missing passengers protested outside the country's embassy in Beijing yesterday, venting anger at the information vacuum surrounding the plane.
Najib Razak, whose government has been questioned over its transparency on the Malaysia Airlines flight, promised that a preliminary report submitted to the United Nations' aviation body would be released publicly.
"In the name of transparency, we will release the report next week," he told CNN in an interview late on Thursday.
The news failed to appease families of the Chinese passengers, who made up two-thirds of the 239 people aboard the missing plane, as about 100 of them staged an overnight protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing yesterday.
A family representative said the demonstration was to protest against the Malaysian government's failure to provide high-level official briefings and updates every five days as it had promised.
"We are so tired, as this is the 49th day. We didn't sleep the whole night, but we are still angry. No update has been made and our loved ones are still missing," the representative said.
Anthony Brickhouse, a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators, said the report was unlikely to contain anything startling.
"This preliminary report is really just a run-down of what you know so far. And in this case, not much is known anyway," he said.
The Boeing 777 vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and is now believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, where an Australian-led search is under way.
But a difficult underwater search of the suspected crash site, using a mini-submarine equipped with a sonar device, was nearing completion with no trace of the plane found.
"Bluefin-21 has now completed approximately 95 per cent of the focused underwater search area. No contacts of interest have been found to date," said the search headquarters in Perth.
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, head of the Australian navy, said in Hong Kong yesterday that governments from Malaysia, China and Australia were now discussing possible options for the next phase of the search operation.
"There may be another search, that's one of the options that's available for the three governments, there is other equipment that's potentially available for the task," he said.
Ding Yiping , deputy commander of the PLA Navy, told the China News Agency on Thursday that China would be sending more vessels for the search's next stage, with equipment that can reach depths up to 6,000 metres.
Ding said a multiple-beam sonar device would be deployed to sketch the landscape of the seabed. This would be followed by a towed sonar device that could provide a detailed scan of the seabed, and then underwater cameras to determine whether any objects detected were from the missing plane. "As long as there is hope, the Chinese navy will continue searching," he said.