Malaysia flight MH370: Chinese families vent anger

Relatives of Chinese passengers from the missing Malaysian plane have vented their anger at government officials, after arriving in Kuala Lumpur.

Chanting “Tell us the truth”, they said they wanted the Malaysian prime minister to apologise for what they regard as misleading statements.

Ten planes and eight ships are looking for remains of the airliner in a vast area of the Indian Ocean.

The Beijing-bound plane disappeared on 8 March with 239 people on board.

Some relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have refused to accept the Malaysian account of events and accused the authorities.

On Sunday several dozen family members travelled from Beijing.

After landing in Kuala Lumpur they held a news conference at a hotel holding up banners that read “We want evidence, truth, dignity” in Chinese, and “Hand us the murderer. Give us our relatives,” in English.

Their designated representative, Jiang Hui, said they wanted the Malaysian government to apologise over the initial handling of the disaster, as well as for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s earlier statement that indicated the plane had crashed with no survivors.

He said the conclusion had been announced “without direct evidence or a sense of responsibility”.

He said the group wanted to meet airline and government officials face to face – although he stopped short of saying that these included Mr Najib, as some relatives had earlier suggested.

The relatives have previously expressed anger at officials during regular briefings by Malaysian officials at a hotel in Beijing.

Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Saturday that the search for survivors would continue.

“The hardest part of my job is to see the families,” he said. “I’ve always said we are hoping against hope that we will find survivors.”

For a second day on Sunday, Malaysian officials cancelled their daily update on the search operation.

Malaysian officials have concluded that, based on satellite data, the missing plane flew into the sea somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. So far no trace of it has been found.

The BBC’s Jon Donnison, in Perth, explains how a “towed pinger locator” is used

A Chinese and an Australian ship failed to identify debris from the missing flight after their first day in a new search area, about 1,850km (1,150 miles) west of Perth, on Saturday.

Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 and Australia’s HMAS Success both retrieved objects but none was confirmed to be from flight MH370, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said in a statement.

Some of the objects have been very small, and officials have cautioned that they may be sea junk.

Aircraft involved in the search have so far reported seeing a number of objects of various colours floating in the sea in the new area since Friday.

Poor conditions have hampered recent search efforts.

An Australian vessel carrying a US device known as a “towed pinger locator” is due to join the search in the coming days.

The device is designed to detect any ultrasonic signals – “pings” – from flight recorders and can operate up to a depth of about 6,000m.

But the search area is huge – covering some 319,000 sq km (123,000 sq miles) – and time is running short. The flight recorders’ batteries are expected to run out in about a week’s time.

The current search area is about 1,100km (700 miles) north-east of the previous zone.

Officials said the focus changed after radar data showed the plane had been travelling faster that previously thought, thus burning more fuel.

This would reduce the possible distance the aircraft travelled south.

Various theories about what went wrong have been suggested – including the captain hijacking his own plane.

The speculation was fuelled by reports that files had been deleted on the pilot’s home flight simulator.

However on Saturday Malaysia’s transport minister said investigators had found “nothing sinister” from the simulator.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 vanished less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

The airliner diverted off course and lost contact with air traffic controllers between Malaysian and Vietnamese air-traffic control areas.