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Families in Beijing shocked by new information on missing Malaysia Airlines MH370

Published on Mar 15, 2014 3:04 PM
 

Chaos ensued at a Beijing meeting of more than 300 relatives after learning new information about the missing MH370 plane from Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak at his press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday afternoon.

"How could this be?" exclaimed one family member moments after Mr Najib revealed that the last known contact between the Malaysia Airlines jetliner and satellites was at 8.11am last Saturday.

So far, the official last known contact from the plane was at 1.20am last Saturday, about an hour after the Boeing 777-200ER carrier left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

Many relatives of the 153 Chinese nationals onboard the flight carrying 239 people even tried to stop Malaysian envoy to China Iskandar Sarudin from leaving the meeting on Saturday.

Family members of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 react as they watch Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speak during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, on a television screen at a hotel in Beijing, on March 15, 2014. Chaos ensued at a Beijing meeting of more than 300 relatives after learning new information about the missing MH370 plane from Mr Najib at his press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday afternoon. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

"The plane couldn't have flown beyond 8.11am. Where did it land?" wondered out one relative as another shouted "this is more and more ludicrous".

But some families gleaned silver linings from Mr Najib's press conference which was broadcast live in a packed ballroom at the Metropark Lido hotel in Beijing, where relatives of MH370 passengers have been cooped up.

They believed Mr Najib's remarks that the plane's communications systems were disabled deliberately have bolstered their suspicions of a hijacking attempt, which means "there is a 50-50 per cent" chance of survival for their loved ones.

"There is a shred of hope for us," one said.

Malaysia Airlines commercial director Hugh Dunleavy later told the relatives that the airlines won't be taking more questions as it is now a criminal investigation.

He also said all briefings from now on will be made by the Malaysian government while the airline will continue to host them tonight and inform them later about arrangements from tomorrow.

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