MH370 China relatives meet wall of silence from airline

Posted at 06/11/2014 6:06 PM | Updated as of 06/11/2014 6:06 PM

BEIJING - Frustrated Chinese relatives of passengers onboard missing Flight MH370 Wednesday visited the offices of Malaysia Airlines in Beijing to confront officials after regular briefings by the airline were halted.

The relatives had previously been given regular updates on the search for the plane by airline officials at a hotel in Beijing. But the briefings were cancelled last month, to the fury of many who say they no longer have any way of making their voices heard.

Relatives organised a visit to the Beijing office of the airline to "demand answers", a message posted on their official online account said, but were turned away and refused access to airline staff.

A heavy security presence blocked journalists from entering the building and reporters interviewing relatives outside were closely watched by police, as five marked police vans were parked nearby.

"I came here today to get answers but I am not allowed to see anyone," said Dai Shuqin, who added her younger sister was on the plane.

As relatives around her collapsed onto the floor, crying in each others arms, Dai then began shouting: "I only want to find foreign journalists. I have a lot things to say to them. I want the whole world to find out what we're encountering."

The visit to the airline's Beijing office was planned as Chinese families prepare to mark 100 days since the plane disappeared on June 16. In China, the mourning period for deceased loved ones commonly lasts for 100 days.

"Almost 100 days have gone and we continue to feel tortured, helpless, and angry, said Jiang Hui, a 41-year-old IT worker.

"I am over 40 years old and I never knew the true meaning of suffering before. But over these past three months, I now know its meaning," added Jiang, whose 70-year-old mother was on the plane.

A woman answering the phone at the airline's Beijing office refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

Meanwhile, French businessman Ghyslain Wattrelos, whose wife and teenage son and daughter were on the plane, said in an interview with French Europe Radio 1 that he is convinced foul play was involved in the plane's disappearance.

"For us there's no doubt," he told the radio station. "The aircraft was hijacked."

"We get the impression that they (the authorities) are hiding something," he added.

Wattrelos called on Paris to take a more active role in the search for the plane, including handing over satellite data.

France, he said, "says Malaysia is officially in charge of the investigation and that they cannot intervene. But nothing prevents France from sending its satellites to see what happened on 8th March".

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