Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Chinese families call Malaysian Government ‘executioners’ and ‘killers’ as debris search area narrows

Mistrust in authorities leading search means some family members refuse to accept plane is now confirmed lost
  • @adamwithnall

With the deaths of the passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 confirmed, the distraught relatives have turned their renewed anger on the authorities who have led the search, branding them “executioners” and “killers”.

In China, family members were apparently permitted to stage a rare public protest, marching with banners and chanting that “[the] Malaysian government has cheated us”.

At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today, officials said the search for the lost plane had been narrowed by 80 per cent, from two vast northern and southern corridors to just the southern-most section of the latter.

Today's recovery efforts were marred by adverse weather conditions, but hopes of finding some debris are high for tomorrow with improved forecasts and the expected arrival of several ships in the search area.

There is still an area of more than 600,000 square miles to be covered, however. Australia's deputy defence chief, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, told reporters in Perth: “We're not searching for a needle in a haystack - we're still trying to define where the haystack is.”

Last night the prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, said that the unprecedented analysis of satellite data from British firm Inmarsat had concluded the missing Boeing 777 came down in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean, and that it was “beyond doubt” there were no survivors.

Mr Najib said family members had been informed, and those who were not at emergency private briefings were told via a text message from the airline.

Yet in a country where people have grown used to not being told the whole truth by authorities, relatives of the 153 missing Chinese passengers assembled at the Malaysia Embassy to demand answers.

A group reportedly representing families issued a statement describing the Malaysian airline, government and military as “executioners” who constantly tried to delay and deceive them.

“We will take every possible means to pursue the unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three,” said the statement on the microblog of the Malaysia Airlines MH370 Family Committee.

The relatives protesting in Beijing held signs that said: “MH370, Don't let us wait too long!” and “1.3 billion people are waiting to greet the plane”. They wore matching t-shirts that said: “Best of luck to MH370, return home safely.”

Family members of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 shout slogans as they march toward the Malaysian embassy in Beijing

“I want the truth, and I believe they have been hiding some information from us,” said Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane. “It remains an enigma as to what happened after the plane turned around. What happened when the plane continued to fly?

“I am still hoping for my parents' return, even though I understand the probability is very, very low,” Wang said in a telephone interview.

Maira Elizabeth Nari, the daughter of  the chief steward on the missing flight Andrew Nari, has been chronicling her reaction to the search over the past 18 days in a heartbreaking series of posts on Twitter.

“I don't know what to say, what to think,” she wrote when Mr Najib's announcement had been made yesterday. “I feel so lost, so blank. I'm just so tired. Goodnight, daddy.”

Today she added: “To be honest, there's still hope in me. But, sigh.. Back to reality, should stop dreaming. The best is to just pray and surrender it to God.”

Malaysia Airlines said on Tuesday it was doing everything possible to help the families, and defended itself against criticism over how it informed them about the government's conclusion that no one aboard the aircraft is still alive. Some relatives were informed by text message.

“Our sole and only motivation last night was to ensure that in the incredibly short amount of time available to us, the families heard the tragic news before the world did,” CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said.

“We know that while there have been an increasing number of apparent leads, definitive identification of any piece of debris is still missing. It is impossible to predict how long this will take,” he said.

“But after 17 days, the announcement made last night and shared with the families is the reality which we must now accept.”