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Home Global Activities Asia Tzu Chi volunteers Continue to Support Malaysian Airlines Families

Tzu Chi volunteers Continue to Support Malaysian Airlines Families

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It was just before 10 p.m. on March 24 that the families of the passengers heard an official announcement that the flight of the MH370, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, ended in the southern Indian Ocean with 239 passengers. For the last 17 days, the families have been waiting in hotels in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur for news of their loved ones.

It was the Prime Minister himself, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who read a statement at a news conference late in the evening in the Malaysian capital:
“Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort ... Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth in western Australia. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

He expressed his deep condolences to the families. “For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I know this news must be harder still. I urge the media to respect their privacy and allow them the space they need at this very difficult time.”

Just before he spoke, Malaysian Airlines notified the families of the passengers that Flight 370 was presumed lost with no survivors. It notified most of the families in person or via telephone, and some received an SMS. A press conference will be held on Wednesday, March 26 with more information.

The AAIB is the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the United Kingdom. On March 14, its experts began to help in trying to find the missing aircraft. It was the largest rescue effort mounted in the history of aviation, involving at least 26 countries over a vast area of the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Tzu Chi volunteers have been with the families, in hotels in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, within hours of when they learnt the plane had gone missing. They have provided comfort and psychological support and helped with translation and obtaining documents they needed, as well as food and drink. When the relatives of the passengers learnt the official news that the plane had been lost, they could no longer contain their grief and burst into tears. The Tzu Chi volunteers will continue to provide all the help they can. Malaysian Airlines has requested that they accompany the family members to Australia.

Da Ai News by Lu Ya-jun, Cai Pei-qi March 25, 2014

 
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