Malaysia flight MH370: Chinese families vent anger

  • 30 March 2014
  • From the section Asia
Media captionThe BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur: "The family members have come here for answers"

Relatives of Chinese passengers from the missing Malaysian plane have vented their anger at government officials, after arriving in Kuala Lumpur.

Chanting "Tell us the truth", they said they wanted the Malaysian prime minister to apologise for what they regard as misleading statements.

Eight ships and nine planes searched around 252,000 sq km (97,000 sq miles) of ocean for debris on Sunday.

The Beijing-bound plane disappeared on 8 March with 239 people on board.

International investigators have concluded that, based on satellite data, the missing Boeing 777 crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.

The search zone shifted on Friday after further analysis. But while aircraft continue to spot debris in the water, nothing recovered by ships has so far been verified as being from the plane.

Some relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have refused to accept the Malaysian account of events and blame the authorities.

On Sunday, several dozen family members travelled from Beijing.

After landing in Kuala Lumpur they held a news conference at a hotel holding up banners that read "We want evidence, truth, dignity" in Chinese, and "Hand us the murderer. Give us our relatives," in English.

Their designated representative, Jiang Hui, said they wanted the Malaysian government to apologise for the initial handling of the disaster, as well as for Prime Minister Najib Razak's earlier statement that indicated the plane had crashed with no survivors.

He said the conclusion had been announced "without direct evidence or a sense of responsibility".

He said the group wanted to meet airline and government officials face to face - although he stopped short of saying that these included Mr Najib, as some relatives had earlier suggested.

Image caption None of the objects retrieved by Haixun 01 or HMAS Success is thought to be from the missing plane

Before the relatives travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the search for survivors would continue.

"The hardest part of my job is to see the families," he said. "I've always said we are hoping against hope that we will find survivors."

On Sunday, Malaysian officials cancelled their daily update on the search for a second day.

The objects recovered by Australian naval ship HMAS Success and China's Haixun 01 on Saturday had been examined and were thought to be fishing equipment and other flotsam, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said in a statement.

Media captionThe BBC's Jon Donnison, in Perth, explains how a "towed pinger locator" is used

An Australian vessel carrying a US device known as a "towed pinger locator" is due to join the search in the coming days.

The device is designed to detect any ultrasonic signals - "pings" - from flight recorders and can operate up to a depth of about 6,000m.

But the search area is huge - covering some 319,000 sq km (123,000 sq miles) - and time is running short. The flight recorders' batteries are expected to run out in about a week's time.

The current search area is about 1,100km (700 miles) north-east of the previous zone.

Officials said the focus changed after radar data showed the plane had been travelling faster than previously thought, thus burning more fuel and reducing the distance the aircraft could have travelled.

Various theories about what went wrong have been suggested - including the captain hijacking his own plane.

The speculation was fuelled by reports that files had been deleted on the pilot's home flight simulator.

However on Saturday Malaysia's transport minister said investigators had found "nothing sinister" from the simulator.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 vanished less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

The airliner diverted off course and lost contact with air traffic controllers between Malaysian and Vietnamese air-traffic control areas.

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