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Families Fear the Worst on Missing Malaysia Plane

  • Shannon Van Sant

Family members of passengers aboard a missing plane cry at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, March 9, 2014.

Family members of passengers aboard a missing plane cry at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, March 9, 2014.

Fear and frustration are growing among family members of passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared in Southeast Asia, and many are demanding more details from airline officials as the search continues for the missing plane.

Families of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 370 are vacillating between hope and fear for their loved ones as days pass without details of why the plane vanished early Saturday morning or where it might be.

Two thirds of the passengers were Chinese, and hundreds of family members are waiting in Beijing for answers from airline officials. Many are holed up at a hotel in the city suburbs, where the mood has grown increasingly chaotic as reporters swarm about and press conferences reveal few new details.

American Sarah Bajc is also waiting in Beijing for news of her boyfriend Philip Wood, who was the flight.

“I Am personally not willing to give up hope that there is a chance we will find survivors, that we will find the plane," she said. "There just has to be a chance.”

She says Malaysia Airlines has given her hourly updates, but no further details on the flight. One family member of a passenger from Shanghai complained of the continuing mystery surrounding the flight.

There is still no information, she said. My husband's brother was on that plane, the woman said, without giving her name.

Two hundred 39 people of 14 nationalities were onboard the plane. Some details have emerged. Radar shows the plane may have turned back after takeoff; up to four of the passengers may have been carrying stolen passports; and the Vietnamese government says it found several kilometer-long oil slicks that could indicate a crash into the ocean.

Earlier Sunday, Ignatius Ong, a spokesperson from Malaysia Airlines, gave a press conference.

He said, “About three to four hours ago, as times has continued to move on without finding the aircraft, Malaysian airlines has also informed family members, we have sent to inform them to expect the worst due to the fact that we couldn't find anything.”

Family members describe their long wait for news of the aircraft as an excruciating roller coaster ride. The United States, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and China have sent vessels to assist with search and rescue efforts, while the Philippines and Singapore have sent planes that are scouring the region.

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