March 19, 2014 11:00 am
Updated: March 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Anger, heartbreak as families of missing jet passengers demand answers


WATCH: Chaos following the latest press conference in Malaysia as family members were detained and dragged through a media scrum

TORONTO – Relatives of the passengers of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet continue to speak of their ordeal as they wait for news of their loved ones.

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Regular meetings have been taking place at a Beijing hotel between Malaysian Airlines authorities and distraught relatives of those aboard Flight MH370, the jet missing for more than a week.

During an hour-long meeting on Monday, families showed their frustration and demanded the latest official information be provided by authorities.

One of the Chinese relatives said he was frustrated because he said the airline had stopped giving the families information on the flight’s whereabouts and was going to limit its scope of services to providing logistics for the families’ stay in the Chinese capital.

An elderly woman, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, covers her face out of frustration as she leaves the hotel ballroom.

AP Photo/Alexander F. Yua

‘We, the relatives, have not come here to be fed and lodged,” said Mr. Wen, father of a passenger on the missing jet. “We have come to ask the government and Malaysian Airlines to give us information on the whereabouts of our relatives. We need to get this information urgently.”

Search crews from 26 countries are looking for the plane that vanished early March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Families of missing passengers organize committee

On Wednesday, Chinese families of passengers said they will set up a “self-help” committee, urging the Malaysian government to send representatives to Beijing to brief them.

Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 watch a TV news program about searching of the missing flight.

AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

It comes after the daily meetings that have left families frustrated and angry at the lack of new information.

“There isn’t any new information from Malaysia Airlines, so we decided to set up a self-help committee among families here,” said Mr. Wen. “We want Malaysia to send government representatives to attend the meeting with families, because only the government can answer our questions about where the plane is and where our families are.”

As relatives came to the media centre carrying a protest banner that accused the Malaysia government of hiding the truth and wasting time when it came to finding the missing jetliner, some were dragged away by  security staff to a room with officials.

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.

AP Photo

Relatives of the Chinese passengers threatened to go on a hunger strike if the airline failed to give more accurate information.

During a meeting on Wednesday, one woman echoed the statement of many relatives.

“Don’t let the passengers become the victims of a political fight,” she said. “No matter how powerful you are, if the people have died, what can you do?”

Xiong Yunming, sister and sister-in-law of missing plane passengers, said the only thing that could help her “feel better” is to find her relatives.

“I need to report to my family, to my mother,” she said.  “[My mother] says that my sister is not coming back. Of course we are sad. At meal times my mother cries because that is the time my sister used to return home.”

“Help us find our relatives as soon as possible. Nothing else matters.”

 – With files from The Associated Press


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