Families of MH370 passengers dismiss compensation offer until plane is found
Published 21/04/2014 | 02:30
A MALAYSIAN official has met with relatives of passengers who were aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and discussed ways of providing them with financial assistance.
The compensation claim came as an unmanned submarine continued its search for any signs of the jet.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainuddin met the passengers' relatives in Kuala Lumpur. Financial assistance was discussed and family members were urged to submit a plan for consideration. He declined to elaborate further, but said a fund could possibly be set up by the government or Malaysia Airlines.
The relatives, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the meeting, saying in a statement that until "at least a tiny bit of concrete evidence" that the plane crashed is found, authorities should not try to settle the case with final pay-offs.
"No meaningful report on the progress of the investigation was given" at the meeting, the relatives said, adding that "not a single one" of their questions was answered. Mr Zainuddin, who heads a committee overseeing the needs of the next of kin, said: "We realise this is an excruciating time for the families of those on board. We understand the desperate need for information on behalf of the families and those watching around the world."
He added that he would soon visit Beijing to shore up bilateral relations between Malaysia and China. Two-thirds of the missing plane's 227 passengers were Chinese, and many of their family members have been angered by Malaysia's handling of the investigation, with some accusing the government of lying, incompetence or participating in an outright cover-up.
After nearly a week of sweeping the bottom of the ocean with sonar, the unmanned sub begins its eighth mission today.
The US Navy's Bluefin 21 is combing the silt-covered seabed off the coast of western Australia. It is searching around the location of an underwater signal that was believed to have come from the jet's black boxes.
zMeanwhile last night a Malaysia Airlines flight heading to India with 166 people aboard made an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur after it was forced to turn back when a tire burst upon takeoff, the airline said. The airline said Flight 192 to Bangalore in southern India landed safely at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 1:56 a.m. , about four hours after it departed. The airline initially said the right landing gear of the Boeing 737-800 "malfunctioned" but later added that the problem was caused by a burst tire.