MH370: Chinese Relatives Demand ‘Evidence, Truth’ From Malaysia

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Dozens of anguished Chinese relatives on Sunday demanded that Malaysia provide them with evidence on the fate of their loved ones aboard the missing Flight 370.

The family members arrived in Kuala Lumpur and held a news conference at their hotel, imploring officials to be more transparent.

“We want evidence, we want truth and we want our family,” said Jiang Hui, leader of the families. The crowd chanted the same words.

“We are here to call for the following three things,” he said. “First, the Malaysian side should provide us with timely and comprehensive evidence and answer the families’ questions.”

He also asked Malaysia to apologize for releasing confusing information and for announcing on March 24 that the plane had crashed.

Relatives wore white T-Shirts with the words ” Pray for MH370 … return home safely.” Others wept.

“We are here struck with sadness and desperation,” Jiang said. “The meetings in China were not fruitful with MAS (Malaysia Airlines) officials.”

Mixed messages

Family members have accused Malaysian officials of withholding information since the plane vanished three weeks ago.

Of the 239 people aboard the doomed jetliner, 154 were Chinese.

Last week, relatives were told everyone aboard died. But Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s acting transportation minister, told reporters Saturday he had not closed the door on the hope that survivors may exist.

Frustrating search

Beijing has publicly slammed Malaysia’s efforts to find the Boeing 777, which went missing March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

And as the frustrating three-week search resumed Sunday, China is among the countries scouring the choppy waters of the southern Indian Ocean for signs of the plane. Weather is forecast to worsen with light showers and low clouds, though search operations are expected to continue, Australian authorities said.

Ten planes will fly over 123,167 square miles (319,000 square kilometers) about 1,150 miles (1,850 kilometers) west of Perth, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Eight ships will join the search by the end of the day, including the Australian Ocean Shield, which will be fitted with a “black box” detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle. All ships will try to locate and identify objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.

And amid the confusion, Malaysia said it has done its best with what it has.

“History will judge us as a country that has been very responsible,” Hishammuddin said.

Relatives said they hope to meet the transport minister in Kuala Lumpur. They also asked Malaysia to plan meetings with the various companies involved, including Boeing, the plane’s manufacturer.

Race against time

Search experts said the clock is ticking.

The batteries on the flight data recorder, sometimes called the black box, are designed to last about 30 days, said Michael Kay, a former adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence. The plane disappeared March 8 — 22 days ago.

Eight planes and a number of ships scoured some 97,000 square miles of water Saturday for signs of the plane, with aircraft reporting sightings of objects similar to those reported Friday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Two vessels — one of them a Chinese warship — retrieved objects, “but so far no objects confirmed to be related to MH370 have been recovered,” the authority said.

Crew members aboard a Chinese plane dropped buoys to mark three suspected debris sites, China’s state-run CCTV reported. It later said Sunday an orange “suspicious object” spotted by a Chinese plane Saturday turned out to be a dead jellyfish.

‘They’re still alive’

In Beijing on Saturday, some of the relatives of the missing vented their anguish in the streets.

“They’re all still alive, my son and everyone on board!” yelled Wen Wancheng, 63, whose only son was among the passengers. “The plane is still there, too! They’re hiding it.”

He held aloft a banner that read: “Son, mom and dad’s hearts are torn to pieces. Come home soon!”

Relatives implored Hishammuddin to redouble the efforts.

“What they want is a commitment on our part to continue the search, and that I have given,” Hishammuddin said. “For me, as the minister responsible, this is the hardest part of my life, at the moment,” he told reporters.

“Miracles do happen, remote or otherwise, and that is the hope that the families want me to convey — not only to the Malaysian government, MAS (Malaysia Airlines), but also to the world at large,” he said.

Sea objects

The latest data analysis shows Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ended up in the southern Indian Ocean.

Investigators concluded that during the flight’s initial phase, the plane was traveling faster and burning fuel faster than they had thought. As a result, it could not have traveled as far south as they had thought earlier.

The new search area is closer to Australia’s coast, so it’s easier to reach. It’s also marked by calmer waters.

Vast, shifting search

The search for Flight 370 has spanned vast bodies of water and continents.

It started in the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam, where the plane went out of contact with air traffic controllers.

When authorities learned of radar data suggesting the plane had turned westward across the Malay Peninsula after losing contact, they expanded the search into the Strait of Malacca.

When those efforts proved fruitless, the search spread north into the Andaman Sea and northern Indian Ocean.

It then ballooned drastically after Malaysia announced March 15 that satellite data showed the plane could have flown along either of two huge arcs, one stretching northwest into the Asian land mass, the other southwest into the Indian Ocean.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that further analysis of the data led authorities to conclude the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean.

CNN’s Mitra Mobasherat, Yuli Yang and Paula Hancocks contributed to this report


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