Chinese relatives' anger erupts in Malaysia over lost plane

by Reuters
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 11:59 GMT

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 (Reuters) - Malaysian security carried out the wailing mother of a Chinese passenger on the missing jetliner from a media briefing room on Wednesday where she had been protesting over a lack of information, 12 days after the plane vanished.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared from air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

Several relatives of passengers unfurled a banner and began shouting to assembled reporters before they were led away surrounded by security guards, with one woman wailing in grief.

"They are just saying wait for information. Wait for information. We don't know how long we have to wait," said the woman, who said her son had been on Flight MH370.

"Why won't they give us an explanation? My son. It's been 12 days. I have been here 10 days ... every time we ask a question they don't give us answers," she said.

A second woman wearing sunglasses and a face mask yelled in protest.

"We call on the Malaysian government to give us information immediately. There is no information, just endless searching," she said.

"We are not satisfied with the Malaysian government's conduct. We don't need the Malaysian government to take care of us. What we need is the truth. We need to know where the plane is," she said.

Neither woman gave her name.

Around two thirds of the 227 passengers on board the flight are Chinese and their relatives have vented their anger at the Malaysian government and airline for what they say has been slow communication and inefficient search efforts.

Hundreds of family members are still waiting for information in a Beijing hotel, and some threatened on Tuesday to go on hunger strike.

The search for the missing jet has strained ties between China and Malaysia. Beijing has repeatedly called on the Malaysian side to do a better job at looking after the relatives of the Chinese passengers, and to provide them with updated information.

Asked about the protest at the daily news conference that began shortly afterwards, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia was sending another "high-level" team to Beijing to improve communications with relatives.

"I appeal to everybody that though we understand their concerns, we are trying our very best. It is heart wrenching, even for me," he said. (Reporting by Michael Martina, Tim Hepher; Writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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