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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Families of MH370 victims offer 10 tips

Published on Jul 18, 2014 11:50 PM
 
Relatives of passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 get onto a bus at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on July 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Hoping to share their experience with the grieving relatives of MH17 passengers, the families of Chinese passengers on Flight MH370 that vanished in early March have come up with 10 tips.

The MH370 families, still waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones, said on their Weibo account that they learnt the lessons from their own painful experience.

Practical tips including advising those with communication skills and organisational ability to step up to serve the other families as a representative.

MH17 families are also told: "Insist that a multi-national investigation team with third-party country representatives be formed immediately. Do this now because if you leave it too late, it is hard to guarantee that the investigation team will be objective."

The relatives of the 153 Chinese nationals who were on MH370 are still furious with the Malaysian government for withholding key information from them, such as the fact that the plane remained in the air for hours after it lost contact with air traffic control.

They advise MH17 families to retain all receipts of their expenditure for reimbursement later, and to keep the name cards of reporters who approach them.

"The media attention will be overwhelming at first but you must take the reporters' namecards, as you can use them later!" the Chinese group says.

The 10 tips are:

1. If the airline puts all the families together in the same place, try to control your emotions as there is much to accomplish. First, exchange contact information and make a database of names, numbers, addresses and relationship to passengers.

2. The media attention will be overwhelming at first. You don't have to accept interviews if you don't want to initially, but you must take the reporters' name cards, as you can use them later!

3. If lawyers approach you, don't sign anything hastily. There will be a lot more lawyers later, and they are actually not allowed to approach you for the first 45 days. In this painful stage, do not make any decisions.

4. Do not hope for any first-hand information from the Malaysians. Your information should come primarily from media and the Internet. The most reliable information is from the government, but they will tell you last.

5. Those with communication skills and organisational ability among you should step up to serve the other families as a representative. Everyone needs people like you.

6. Insist that a multi-national investigation team with third-party country representatives be formed immediately. Do this now because if you leave it too late, it is hard to guarantee that the investigation team will be objective.

7. Take care of your health, do not be too upset by media reports, because a lot of information will change.

8. You have the right to demand free food and lodging, and to be sent to the place where the incident happened, and the authorities must facilitate this, be it visas or plane tickets.

9. Keep your receipts, as you can be reimbursed.

10. The most important: stay with your family and friends, stay with the other passengers' relatives, you will find comfort with them. We hope that you will not suffer as much as we have. If there is any need, you can contact us any time.

rchang@sph.com.sg

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