BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese relatives reacted calmly on hearing the news that satellite imagery had spotted two objects in the Indian Ocean and could be linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Twelve days after the jet disappeared with 239 people on board, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the announcement about the sighting on Thursday.
Relatives have lived in hope and despair for almost two weeks.
SILENCE OF ANXIETY
Cigarette smoke filled the briefing room of the Metro Park Lido Hotel, where airline officials have been holding daily briefings.
The hotel has been home to relatives of the passengers since the plane went missing. A member of staff told Xinhua some 200 relatives were staying in the hotel. Others have returned home.
People gathered in the briefing room and quietly watched the live broadcast of the Australian press conference at 12:30 p.m. Beijing Time.
A few ladies wiped their tears. Others looked tired, resting on the back of the chairs in front of them.
When an Australian spokesman mentioned "survivors", loud sighs were heard in the room.
"So they've found them?" someone asked. "Nothing has been confirmed," said another.
Many left the room after the press conference, looking calm but tired with dark eyes.
Staff and volunteers were inside the room to help the relatives.
Word circulated in the briefing room that a team of senior officials and military representatives from Malaysia was expected to arrive in Beijing on Thursday night and they would meet the families. It stirred few emotions.
The relatives, sitting around in small groups, discussed what questions to ask later. A woman with a Beijing accent said, "We should think about our questions. We want more information."
A middle-aged man, wearing a suit and glasses, from east China's Shandong Province, was every so often informing a group of people the latest news coming from the foreign media.
During discussions, claiming compensation was spoken about.
An American lawyer Keke Feng, co-counsel with the U.S.-based Motley Rice law firm, told Xinhua that she had been invited by relatives to deal with possible compensation.` Feng's practice, one of America's largest litigation firms, has dealt with major settlements, including the fatal Air France crash in 2009, the Asiana Airlines crash in 2013, and the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
However, most relatives are still focusing on the search. "What we need is for them to be safe and sound," said a relative.
CALL OF LOVE
On a large board outside the briefing room, relatives have been writing words to their loved ones.
"My little Doudou, your husband is waiting here to take you home. The Tiffany ring you like is ready for you to wear. I'm waiting for you to come back to marry you," read one message.
A woman wrote "Jing, all your relatives are waiting for you. Come back home, please," before she put her hands to her mouth, with tears in her eyes.
Beside her, a young man murmured, "He or she may not see this anyway."