Families appeal for MH370 hunt to continue

A woman holding a sign saying "The three governments have an obligation to carry out their promise to the world" at the protest outside the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing yesterday. About 30 family members gathered to hand over a petition for th
A woman holding a sign saying "The three governments have an obligation to carry out their promise to the world" at the protest outside the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing yesterday. About 30 family members gathered to hand over a petition for the search for MH370 to continue.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • Chinese relatives of passengers on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which went missing two years ago on a flight to Beijing, made an emotional plea yesterday for the search to continue.

Last week, Malaysia, China and Australia said in a joint statement that the hunt for MH370 would be suspended if the aircraft was not found in an area now being searched.

About 30 family members, some in tears, gathered at China's foreign ministry to hand in a petition for the search to continue, and a group was allowed in despite a brief stand-off with plainclothes security officers.

"We oppose their decision. We don't recognise it at all. That decision has no reason behind it," said Mr Boa Lanfang, 65, whose son, daughter-in-law and grandson were on the flight.

Some family members held up placards reading: "The three governments have an obligation to carry out their promise to the world."

The Boeing 777, with 239 aboard, disappeared in March 2014 while on a flight from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Investigators believe the plane was deliberately flown thousands of kilometres off course before crashing into the southern Indian Ocean off Australia.

Almost A$180 million (S$182 million) has been spent since then on an underwater search spanning 120,000 sq km in the southern Indian Ocean. The search has lasted more than two years, but there has been no sign of the plane, other than some debris that washed up on beaches in Africa.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Families appeal for MH370 hunt to continue'. Print Edition | Subscribe