World News

Tensions Spill Over as Chinese MH370 Relatives Demand Answers

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."



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 are "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 is 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 are trying to restore it. He stressed that no evidence has been found that implicates Zaharie in any wrongdoing.



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.

Scott Hamilton of the U.S.-based aviation consulting firm Leeham & Company tells VOA the Malaysian government appears 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."



Political science professor James Chin with Australia's Monash University agrees that the situation is 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."



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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs