Upset relatives of passengers on the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which has still not been located, have angrily demanded that officials retract their announcement that the people on the plane are dead, as they refuse to believe that they are.
Following yesterday’s official verdict that the flight’s disappearance was accidental, with the presumption that all on board are dead, 100 Chinese families demanded the statement be retracted, as they don’t want to start compensation claims without hard evidence.
While the families attended the Yonghegong Lama Temple in Beijing, to pray for the safe return of their relatives, they were reportedly pictured being prevented by policemen from giving interviews to the press.
Zhang Qian, whose husband was on the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, managed to speak briefly to reporters, saying, “We don’t accept it. As a matter of fact, we are demanding the statement to be retracted. I feel like I am giving it all up if we start talking about compensation. We don’t need compensation, and we would be more than glad not to ask for a dime if my husband comes back to me.”
Another relative, Jiang Hui, whose mother was a passenger on the flight, said the new announcement was based on no new facts.
“We not only demand the Malaysian government retract the statement, but also issue an apology. That’s the wish of the majority of family members.”
According to clinical psychologist Therese Rando, the relatives’ continued refusal to accept the conclusion is understandable because they are going through an “ambiguous loss,” where there has been no body or wreckage to confirm deaths.
Rando told the AP, “For any family member to make the move to presume death in the absence of confirmation is a huge step. They need to have eliminated other possibilities; to do otherwise would be tantamount to prematurely abandoning their loved one.”
An official of Malaysia’s civil aviation department, Mior Nor Badrishah Mohamad, told a press conference that 31.04 percent of the search area had been covered, saying, “Based on the available data, this is the place.”
Mr Mohamad added, “If we cannot find MH370 within this area, we need to sit down again and decide what’s the best way forward, based on the data we have.”