News / Asia

As First Funerals Set for MH370 Passengers, Malaysia says 'Face Reality'

A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 sits inside a prayer room at Lido Hotel in Beijing, May 2, 2014.
A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 sits inside a prayer room at Lido Hotel in Beijing, May 2, 2014.
Reuters
The first funerals for passengers on board a missing Malaysia Airlines jet will be held this weekend, relatives said on Friday, as a Malaysian official urged relatives of those presumed dead to “face reality” and leave support centers.
 
Despite the most intensive air, sea and underwater search in commercial aviation history, no trace of Flight MH370 has been found since it vanished on a scheduled service from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
 
Almost eight weeks later, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has said it will close assistance centers it has set up in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur for the families of the 239 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777-200ER jet.
 
Many of the bereaved are Chinese.
 
On Friday, Malaysia's deputy foreign minister said it was time for relatives to be “realistic”.
 
“We have been waiting to come up with a statement and all of us, be it the family members or the whole world, is actually looking for the answer,” Hamzah Zainudin told a news conference.
 
The airline, he said, had been looking after and supporting family members in Beijing for 55 days.
 
“And that's the reason its about time for us to actually accept the reality that the family members should go back and wait for the answer in their hometowns.”
 
Families, Malaysian officials said, would be told of developments in the search and those who qualified would receive prompt compensation.
 
Some families in Beijing have left for home, but others were resisting.
 
“Do you think I will leave? How many things do we need to do if we go back home? What will life be like after returning home?” said Wang Bao'an, the father of a passenger.
 
“Our life has been ruined by this. We are not able to face our relatives if we go back.”
 
Another relative, Zhang Yongli, said: “Malaysia Airlines has promised that they would not ask families to leave the Lido Hotel until they figured out what had happened and had found the plane. But now they go back on their words.”
 
Families of other passengers were moving on.
 
First memorial service in Brisbane
 
Family and friends of Rod and Mary Burrows, two of six Australians on board the flight, will hold a memorial service in Brisbane on Sunday, according to a statement on behalf of the family released by police.
 
The family, it said, sought “privacy and request their solitude be respected during this difficult time”.
 
The announcement was issued a day after Malaysia released its most comprehensive account yet of what happened to Flight MH370, detailing the route the plane probably took as it veered off course and the confusion that followed.
 
The report showed four hours elapsed between the first sign that the plane had failed to report in and the decision to mount a search.
 
Maps showing the aircraft's probable flight path suggest the plane turned back from the South China Sea and flew across the Malaysian Peninsula. Investigators believe it then turned south and headed for the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean.
 
The preliminary report, however, left many questions unanswered, including whether the aircraft was deliberately diverted after communications were disabled.
 
Malaysia's defense minister said an independent panel would look into the delay in ordering a search and rescue operation.
 
“We created the independent body with experts from around the world,” Hishammuddin Hussein, who doubles as acting transport minister, told the Kuala Lumpur news conference.
 
“There were things that Malaysia has done well and there were things we could have done better. If that's something the panel says, we won't be reluctant to take the relevant action.”
 
Using groundbreaking analysis of satellite data, experts have narrowed down the search area where the plane is presumed to have crashed to a large arc of the Indian Ocean some 1,600 km (1,000 miles) northwest of the west Australian city of Perth.
 
But after weeks of scouring millions of square kilometers without finding any sign of debris, Australian authorities have called off the air and surface search.
 
Australia and Malaysia now plan to contract commercial companies to undertake a sonar search of 60,000 sq km (24,000 sq mile) of seabed that could take eight months or more at a cost of about A$60 million ($55.6 million US).

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid