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Nine days on, anxiety haunts families of Chinese passengers on Malaysia's missing flight

English.news.cn   2014-03-17 00:43:11

BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Most of the family members of the 154 Chinese on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 chose to continue to wait in Beijing on Sunday.

While meeting the family members on Sunday morning, the Malaysian Airlines promised to continue providing accommodation for the roughly 200 family members of the missing and communicate with them daily at 6 p.m..

The airlines said that it would respect the will of the family members and make further arrangements for their accommodations whether they want to fly for Malaysia, stay in Beijing or go back to their home towns.

A few family members planned to go to the Embassy of Malaysia to question about the "inconsistency" of information disclosed by the Malaysian side.

As search operations entered the ninth day and Malaysian officials uncovered new data on the possible flight path of MH 370 that point to two new corridors, the demand for satellite information, radar playback, aircraft and vessels have become greater, Malaysia's Transportation Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters.

The new search areas announced on Saturday encompass a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand as well as a southern one from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

"We are now looking at large tracts of land crossing 11 countries as well as deep and remote oceans. The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operations has increased from 14 to 25, which brings new challenges of coordination and diplomacy to the effort," he said.

In the last 24 hours the Malaysian prime minister has spoken to prime ministers of Bangladesh and India, as well as presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The Malaysian foreign minister has also briefed officials from countries in the north and southern corridors. This includes a briefing to representatives from 22 countries including nations along the new search corridors as well as other countries that may be able to help.

"Basically, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Australia have been approached. Malaysian officials are requesting assistance from these and other countries. This support includes general satellite data, radar playback, visions of ground and sea search and assets as appropriate," he added.

"We are asking countries with satellite assets including the U.S., China and France among others to provide further satellite data. We are contacting additional countries who may be able to contribute specific assets. These assets are particularly needed to cover the vast areas of the southern search corridor."

Both corridors will be treated with equal importance and Malaysia is still in discussions to decide how assets provided by friendly countries will be used.

Malaysian police had also revisited the homes of the pilot and co-pilot, retrieving the flight simulator of the pilot, which is being investigated. Meanwhile, Malaysian Airlines said the pilot and co-pilot did not request to fly together, dismissing speculation of a pre-planned hijack attempt.

Hussein also told reporters that no extra fuel or hazardous cargo was carried on the flight. Authorities would continue to analyze the backgrounds of the 239 passengers and crew members with the help of international intelligence agencies, but Malaysian Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar refused to give any details and said only that nothing suspicious has come up.

Chinese joint working group entrusted with handling issues related to the missing Malaysian jetliner said here Sunday that they will urge the Malaysian authorities to expand and intensify the search mission and clearly defines the search areas.

Guo Shaochun, the group leader, said that all members of the group were anxious and worried as the plane has gone missing for so many days.

The group had followed closely the new information offered by the Malaysian government on Saturday that the plane was deliberately steered off course, Guo said, adding that they had asked the Malaysian authorities to offer more comprehensive and accurate information.

"We will urge and assist Malaysia to bear responsibilities to take good care of and appease the family members of the passengers on the plane," he added.

Upon its arrival here on Monday, the group started work, meeting with relevant departments of Malaysia, raising specific demands on search and investigation, pushing for greater transparency in releasing information that is more authentic and accurate, he said.

The group had also paid several visits to family members, urged Malaysia Airlines to offer them one-on-one services, along with interpreters and daily briefings to ensure better communications, Guo added.

Chinese aviation experts had arrived at Kuala Lumpur to assist Malaysia for the investigation, Guo told reporters.

Flight MH370 went missing early last Saturday morning with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, sparking a massive search involving more than a dozen nations.

The Malaysian government on Sunday said appeals have been made to 25 countries to provide satellite information, radar playback as well as aircraft and ships to continue the ever-expanding search.

According to He Jianzhong, director of the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center, in the 24 hours till Sunday noon, several Chinese merchant ships including New Pudong and Zi Jingsong had assisted in the searching across the designated waters of the Strait of Malacca.

No suspicious situations were found after 840 square kilometers were searched, said He.

The center has asked Chinese merchant ships traveling in the Indian Ocean, Bengal Bay and the waters to the west of Australia to provide assistance.

(To stay up to date with the latest China news, follow XHNews on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XHNews and Xinhua News Agency on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/XinhuaNewsAgency.)

Editor: yan
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