UK & World News

  • 16 March 2014, 8:37

Missing Plane: Grief And Anger Among Families

The revelation that "deliberate action" diverted flight MH370 has only increased the anxiety of families gathered at a hotel near Beijing airport.

Relatives of passengers from the missing jet watched a big screen, listening intently as the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke. Nearly two thirds of the passengers on board the Boeing 777 were Chinese.

Crammed into the ballroom of the Lido Hotel I saw some cling onto each other for comfort. I also witnessed one young man shaking uncontrollably throughout.

Amongst them the mother of student Lin Annan. She did not want to give me her name but with tears streaming down her face she said: "There's something I really want to say to my son. I love you. All of us love you."

The 27-year-old was returning home from studying.

"Most of all I'm hoping for a miracle to bring everybody back safely. All of them," his mother added.

You would imagine the potential of foul play would make her full of anger. Incredibly that is not the case. She told me: "We raised our child to be someone useful to our family, to society, and the world. I think we shouldn't react with hatred or revenge."

As the news conference ended the blank screen was met with blank faces. "What does it all mean?" they said to each other.

Wang Le's mother was on the plane. The well-educated 27-year-old is engaged to a journalist. Now they find themselves at the heart of a story she would normally be reporting on.

He showed me the last message his mother, Zhang Chi, sent him before take-off. "Can we meet up when I get back to Beijing?" she wrote.

"She is a good mother," he said. "We have good relationship, like friends, we talk about everything."

Instead of planning his marriage, he's now comforting his father.

"Every evening I have dinner with my father. Now it's only us in our house. He talks about my mother, and sometimes he cries. He tells stories I've not heard before. He talks about my mum everyday".

Conspiracy theories have inevitably emerged, and some in the hotel openly suggested foul play.

Wen Wancheng's son was on board the jet, and he said afterwards: "I feel (Malaysia Airlines) had a role to play in this incident." He called the disappearance "a conspiracy ? from the beginning".

Malaysia Airlines representatives held a two-hour meeting with relatives earlier on Saturday, and speaking afterwards several said they remain frustrated with the lack of definite information.

One woman said: "I'm very disappointed in all of them," a reference to both the airline and the Chinese and Malaysian governments. "They haven't told us anything. I'm anxious. Extremely anxious."

The possibility of a hijack scenario gives the relatives the slightest glimmer of hope. But it also means they remain in agonising limbo.

And added to that, the revelation someone on board was probably responsible for their pain.

Advertisement