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Chinese families in Malaysia demand answers over MH370 tragedy

A Chinese relative of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 weeps during a news conference at The Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya March 30, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

KUALA LUMPUR: Dozens of relatives of Chinese passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight arrived Sunday in Kuala Lumpur to demand answers about the plane's fate, with some calling for an apology from Malaysia's government.

Thirty-nine family members of 18 passengers arrived seeking answers, said the airline's commercial director Hugh Dunleavy.

At a hotel on the outskirts of the capital, relatives wearing white T-shirts reading "Pray for MH370" displayed banners reading: "Tell us the truth. Give us our relatives back."

Flight MH370 with 239 people on board inexplicably vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 in one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.

Among the passengers were 153 Chinese -- their grieving families have accused Malaysia of incompetence over the search and of hiding information about the fate of the Boeing 777.

Some are particularly angry at a March 24 announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that, based on satellite data and other calculations, the plane was lost in the southern Indian Ocean after being diverted thousands of miles off course.

Relatives told reporters on Sunday that they wanted Malaysia to retract and apologise for the announcement.

They said they also wanted more information and meetings with top Malaysian officials.

Najib's aide and a transport ministry official said no meeting had been scheduled for Sunday.

Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is supervising the search efforts for MH370.

Several other Chinese family members have been in Malaysia since shortly after the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers.

Many relatives, both in China and Malaysia, refuse to accept that the plane crashed into the ocean until a multinational air and sea search off Australia finds some wreckage.

Regular Malaysian briefings for the families in a Beijing hotel have been acrimonious affairs.

Family members have stormed out of them and shouted abuse at officials, claiming Malaysia is concealing the truth.

Irate relatives scuffled with security personnel outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing last Tuesday, after authorities allowed a rare protest march in the capital.

Malaysia is showing signs of impatience at the Chinese accusations, saying it has been as forthcoming with information as it can be.

The airline says it has provided counsellors and interim cash support for the relatives.

 

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Summary

Dozens of relatives of Chinese passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight arrived Sunday in Kuala Lumpur to demand answers about the plane's fate, with some calling for an apology from Malaysia's government.

Thirty-nine family members of 18 passengers arrived seeking answers, said the airline's commercial director Hugh Dunleavy.

Among the passengers were 153 Chinese -- their grieving families have accused Malaysia of incompetence over the search and of hiding information about the fate of the Boeing 777 .

Several other Chinese family members have been in Malaysia since shortly after the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers.


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