Kin of those aboard Flight 370 react to search suspension


Families of the 239 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are reacting to an announcement by the governments of Malaysia, Australia and China that they will suspend the hunt for the jetliner once they have covered the current search area in the southern Indian Ocean at the end of the year. The plane disappeared while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Although the statement by the three transport ministers, released in the Malaysian capital of Putrajaya on Friday, says the search will be suspended and not ended, the ministers acknowledged that “the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading.”

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“In the absence of new evidence, Malaysia, Australia and China have collectively decided to suspend the search upon completion of the 120,000-square-kilometer (46,300-square-mile) search area. … Should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given in determining next steps.” — Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

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“I will never agree with the decision to suspend the search. We will definitely gather to protest it and I have lost confidence in the Malaysian government. No matter what it is called, suspension or termination, it is the end of the search. If it is a suspension, then when is it going to resume and why is there a need for suspension? We must be given a reason and we must be given a convincing explanation on how the whole thing has been developing, instead of being kept in the dark.” — Zhang Qian, whose wife Wang Houbin, was aboard the flight.

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“We had anticipated that a decision would be made to suspend the search. This is something we expected. We knew they would do this. It’s very frustrating. We feel very angry about it. I will keep requesting that they continue searching.” — Dai Shuqin, five of whose relatives were aboard the flight.

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“If all they did was take the decision to suspend the search, then that really would be a betrayal of the promises made to the relatives. With the money spent on the search, you could have bought a new plane, but in terms of the value of human life and flight safety, it’s really very little.” — Jiang Hui, whose mother was aboard the flight.

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“It’s very difficult to accept, but … we do understand that these things do have to happen. They need more information so that they can progress and put more money into this because it’s costing an absolute fortune. … We’re still very hopeful that they will find something within that span that they’re looking in to be able to say: ‘You know what? We’ve found something and we’ll be able to continue this.'” — Jeanette Maguire, whose sister and brother-in-law were aboard the flight.

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“We do not want it to be just a play of words. We don’t want the suspension to be just a way to let everyone calm down and slowly forget about it. We want them to be doing something in the interim to look for new information.” — Grace Subathirai Nathan, a Malaysian whose mother Anne Daisy was on the flight.

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“I feel encouraged. Fearing the worst, we now have something to hang on to. I read into it a commitment to stay engaged in the search and to hold themselves accountable to pursue the truth.” — K.S. Narenderan, whose wife Chandrika Sharma was on the flight.

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“You can suspend but don’t stop there. Suspension can be five years, 15 years, 20 years … it’s a long wait, so go back to the drawing board.” — Jacquita Gonzales, whose husband Patrick Gomes was a crew member on Flight 370.