News / Asia

    Chinese Passengers' Relatives Demand Answers

    A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane cries as she holds a banner in front of journalists reading 'We are against the Malaysian government for hiding the truth and delaying the rescue. Release our families unconditionally!"  at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, Mar. 19, 2014.
    A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane cries as she holds a banner in front of journalists reading 'We are against the Malaysian government for hiding the truth and delaying the rescue. Release our families unconditionally!" at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, Mar. 19, 2014.
    VOA News
    Frustration over the lack of progress in the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet erupted Wednesday at a daily news conference, where Chinese relatives of missing passengers confronted Malaysian officials.

    The grieving families burst into the room where the media briefing was to be held, yelling and holding a banner demanding Malaysia "tell the truth" about what happened to the plane that has been missing since March 8.

    One unidentified woman directed her frustration at a Malaysia Airlines official.

    "Every day I'm confronted by your boring questions, I'm facing you everyday, I'm fed up with it. I know you know we can do nothing but vent our anger and cry, we can do nothing to you. Aside from lying, deceiving, you have been playing the gangster," she said.

    Two-thirds of the plane's 227 passengers were Chinese. Many of their families have become increasingly angry about what they feel is contradictory or confusing information released by Malaysia. Some have even threatened a hunger strike.

    Malaysian security forces forcibly removed the wailing Chinese relatives from the room and blocked the entrance, as scores of international and local media recorded the incident.

    Once the news conference began, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said authorities were "trying our very best" to locate the plane and to narrow the search area, which now covers more than seven million square kilometers.

    The minister, who is leading the multinational operation, said he understands emotions are high. He said Malaysia was sending another high-level delegation to Beijing to explain more details of the search.

    Hishammuddin disclosed that some data was deleted from the flight simulator found in the home of the plane's pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and that forensic experts were trying to restore it. He stressed that no evidence has been found that implicates Zaharie in any wrongdoing.

    • Mike Barton, rescue coordination chief, right, shows Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, the map of the Indian Ocean search areas during a tour of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's rescue coordination center in Canberra, March 23, 2014.
    • Royal Australian Air Force pilot Capt. Russell Adams, left, speaks to the media after returning from a search mission in an AP-3C Orion at Pearce Base, Perth, Australia, March 23, 2014.
    • Ground crew members wave to a Japanese Maritime Defense Force P3C patrol plane as it leaves the Royal Malaysian Air Force base heading for Australia to join a search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Subang, Malaysia, March 23, 2014.
    • Royal Australian Air Force commander Craig Heap speaks to the media after Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-3C Orion arrived to help with search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at Pearce Base in Perth, Australia, March 23, 2014.
    • Royal Australian Air Force Loadmasters prepare to launch a Self Locating Data Marker Buoy from a C-130J Hercules aircraft over the southern Indian Ocean, March 20, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / AUSTRALIAN DEFENSE/LEADING SEAMAN JUSTIN BROWN)
    • John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, answers a question as he stands in front of a diagram showing the search area for flight MH370 during a briefing in Canberra, March 20, 2014.
    • A Royal Australian Air Force pilot steers his AP-3C Orion over the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defense Force, March 20, 2014.
    • A Chinese family member of a passenger onboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 screams as she is being brought into a room outside the media conference area at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, March 19, 2014.
    • An image in support of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is seen on the United Malays National Organisation building in Kuala Lumpur, March 19, 2014.
    • Students watch as a group of artists finish a piece based on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that was painted on a school ground in Makati city, metro Manila, Philippines, March 17, 2014.

    U.S. law enforcement officials say investigators searching the flight simulator and e-mails of the pilots of the airliner have failed to find evidence that either Zaharie or copilot Fariq Abdul Hamid purposely steered the flight away from its destination.

    One of the U.S. officials said authorities were trying to learn whether Zaharie might have been training on the simulator on how to disable transponders and other in-flight devices ahead of takeoff from Kuala Lumpur.  Investigators were also seeking to learn whether he had practiced flight patterns taking the plane away from its destination.

    The two U.S. law enforcement officials spoke Tuesday after being briefed by Malaysian authorities. They were quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

    'Completely over their heads'

    Scott Hamilton of the U.S.-based aviation consulting firm Leeham & Company told VOA the Malaysian government appeard to be "completely over their heads" with the investigation.

    "They've probably never had anything even remotely like this to deal with. [They] didn't know what to do with it, didn't know how to deal with the pressure from the Chinese government, which of course was very immense given the number of Chinese on the airplane. You had one agency of the government saying one thing, you've had another agency saying something contradictory. I just think they've been totally over their heads on this," he said.

    Political science professor James Chin with Australia's Monash University agreed that the situation was unprecedented for Malaysian authorities.

    "Part of the reason is that the Malaysians don't have any experience with this sort of issue, and also secondly because the Malaysians are very cautious about giving information. Almost information they have they always want to double check it. And unfortunately living in today's age where social media is present at all times, this sort of time luxury does not exist for Malaysian authorities," he said.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    The airliner, bound for Beijing with 239 people aboard, vanished over Southeast Asia March 8, triggering the largest missing airplane search in aviation history. Investigators believe it was deliberately diverted, either south toward the Indian Ocean or north toward Central Asia.

    Hishammuddin said he could rule out reports that the plane was spotted in the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a low-flying aircraft around the time the plane went missing.

    He also said background checks on all but three of the plane's passengers have yielded "no information of significance." Authorities are still waiting for background reports on two Ukrainian passengers and one Russian aboard the flight.

    Authorities have so far refused to rule out any possibility, including terrorism, hijacking, a mechanical malfunction or pilot suicide.

     

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: mimi from: cebu
    March 19, 2014 9:57 AM
    despite the uncertainty of the S.A.R. of MH370, it is really comforting to know that at crisis like this, nations are helping each other..Putting aside differences and conflicts makes me believe that humans are innately good...God please give us wisdom in searching the missing plane..May you bless the works of the hands of the people who are sincerely missing the aircraft...Keep the faith everyone...

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 19, 2014 9:36 AM
    THE WISE MAN said it; ... If only China had expanded it's (ADIZ),
    LOOK for the person in the control tower who got the message from the hijacked plane, (Alright) meaning hijack plan in progress, and (Good night), meaning all plane radio communications now off..
    LOOK for the person in the control tower who called somebody else, (right after that message), to radio a ship to lay down the oil slick, to throw off and conceal the search for flight 370..
    LOOK for the plane in a large hanger on a big airbase, being repainted for a clandestine operation against a nuclear site somewhere? ..... REALLY

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora