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Beijing Chinese vent anger on M'sia
Published on: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kuala Lumpur: Delays and cover-ups by the Malaysian authorities had led to the "wasted" effort by the international team searching for MH370 and the loss of 239 lives on board, several Chinese family members said in Beijing last night.

They labelled Malaysia Airlines (MAS), the government and the military "killers" of their loved ones on the ill-fated jetliner and insisted that the incident would not have ended in tragedy if the country had handled the crisis better.

According to UK's The Guardian, the distraught Chinese families wrote a statement, saying that Malaysia had "continually and extremely delayed, hidden and covered the facts, and attempted to deceive the passengers' relatives, and people all over the world".

They added that the country's authorities had also "misled, delayed the research and rescue, wasted a lot of manpower, and material resources and we lost the most valuable rescue opportunity."

"If our 154 relatives lost their lives because of it, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government, and the Malaysian military are [their] killers," they said in harshly-worded statement, according to the UK daily.

The families were told Monday night that flight MH370, which has been missing for over 17 days now, had crashed into the wild waters of the Indian Ocean, taking with it all 239 lives on board.

Chaos followed after the news broke in Beijing, according to media reports.

"Awful scene. Chinese families leaving briefing room, wailing," tweeted CNN correspondent Pauline Chiou, shortly after the tragic news was delivered, both in Malaysia and in Beijing.

The Chinese made up a bulk of the passengers on board flight MH370, a total of 153 of the 239 people, including 12 crew members and two infants.

"It's just awful... it is profound, profound grief," said Chiou in a broadcast on CNN.

"I don't know how to describe it. It's just an awful, awful scene," she said.

Chiou said a screaming woman was seen being taken away on a stretcher towards a waiting ambulance van. Behind her, another person, believed to be the woman's relative, followed the stretcher to the vehicle.

One man, Chiou said, "lunged" at the media and had to be pulled back by the police.

The chaos was compounded by angry shouts and sounds of weeping relatives, some among whom reportedly lashed out at Malaysia.

The CNN correspondent, who was reporting from Lido Hotel in Beijing, explained that the media were kept away from the Chinese families who were holed up in a room on the hotel's second floor to await the briefing from MAS.

The briefing, according to CNN, was done about 30 minutes before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's emergency press conference here at 10pm.

According to several news reports, MAS first said in a text message to the families that it is assumed that there were no survivors from MH370 after the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

"We deeply regret that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survivedÉ we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean," the text message said, according to reports.

In contrast, Najib was careful not to say the plane had crashed during his press conference announcement at the Putra World Trade Center (PWTC) here.

The prime minister said the Boeing 777 aircraft had "ended" its journey in the southern Indian Ocean, a location he described as remote and far from any possible landing site.

He went on to explain that fresh data gleaned from British satellite firm Inmarsat confirmed that the plane had continued its journey towards the southern Indian Ocean and not along the northern arc, which was one of the possible sites identified earlier.

"Its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth.

This is a remote location... far from any possible landing site.

"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 said.

On Twitter, there was an outpouring of sympathy from netizens offering condolences to those who had lost loved ones on board the ill-fated jetliner.

MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was also pictured in tears after the news was delivered by Najib at PWTC.

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted:

"Words just cannot describe how I feel 2nite but I promise you esp d families of all d passengers n crew : The search continues."

One CCTV news correspondent, James Chau, cried during a live broadcast.

His video was uploaded on YouTube shortly after.

"I'm sorry. Its too much," Chau tweeted later. "I just kept believing, I really did," he said in another posting.

The Boeing 777 aircraft disappeared off the coast of Kota Baru, Kelantan, less than an hour after take-off at 12.41am on March 8 and has remained missing ever since.

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