BEIJING— Malaysian, Chinese and Australian officials plan to meet next week to discuss the next phase of the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Meanwhile the families of the passengers have been told they must leave the hotel where they have been staying for nearly two months, receiving daily updates on the search mission.
A day after Malaysian officials released a five-page report on what they learned in the hours after flight 370 disappeared, Chinese relatives of the passengers on board were told to check out of their hotels in Beijing. Two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese, and hundreds of their family members have been in China’s capital waiting for news of the fate of the missing plane.
Steve Wang’s mother was on board.
“We plan to keep on organizing a lot of committees to keep on fighting for the truth and for the plane,” said Wang.
Some family members said they would appeal to stay in the hotel longer. Airline officials announced yesterday that they would close their family support centers in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere by May 7th, and that relatives should return to the comfort of their homes to wait for information on the ongoing search.
Malaysian officials have released a report disclosing that air traffic controllers did not notice the plane was missing until 17 minutes after it had disappeared from radar. It took another four hours before airline officials launched a search operation.
Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood, was on the flight, was hoping the report would shed light on what happened to the missing jetliner.
“There are contradictions within the report that are inconsistent with information that we have received in writing, but again it is so general as to be worthless,” said Bajc.
The report included information that the airline told air traffic controllers the plane was in Cambodian airspace 25 minutes after it disappeared, and that the Malaysian military detected the plane over Malaysian airspace before it dropped off military radar at 2:15 in the morning. Bajc says the report raises more questions than answers.
“How can you accept that civilian radar and military radar ignored a 777?”
Earlier this week an Australian geological survey firm said they had detected a deposit of metals consistent with that of a plane south of Bangladesh. Australian authorities say while ships from Bangladesh equipped with sonar are searching the sea floor there, they believe the plane went down in the South Indian Ocean. This week investigators said the search for the plane could take up to one year.