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MH370: airline concludes 'with prayers and condolences' that all hope is lost


Relatives of flight MH370 passengers march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing – a rare sight in a country that is strict on public protests. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty ImagesMH370: airline concludes 'with prayers and condolences' that all hope is lost

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Malaysian embassy in Beijing picketed after officials announce plane crashed in remote Indian Ocean with no chance of survival

Paul Farrell in Sydney, Tania Branigan in Beijing and agencies

Malaysia Airlines officials offered their “prayers and sincere condolences” to family members of passengers on board flight MH370 after authorities said they had concluded that the missing plane crashed in the remote Indian Ocean with the loss of all 239 people on board.

Grief-stricken families and friends marched on the Malaysian embassy in Beijing after being given the news by Malaysian authorities.

The Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said at a press conference: “My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families. There are no words which can ease that pain.”

“Everyone in the Malaysia Airlines family is praying for the 239 souls on MH370 and for their loved ones on this dark day. We extend our prayers and sincere condolences."

Yahma added that whether or not he would resign was “a personal question” that he would consider later.

At the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, Chinese police moved journalists away as distraught relatives staged a two-hour protest.

Australia, where the search is now headquartered in Perth on the west coast, said visa fees for family members of passengers flying in would be waived. The Australian defence minister, David Johnston, said the search effort now included aircraft from Australia, New Zealand, China, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

“The challenge of flying to such a remote region and conducting search operations cannot be overstated. With eight hours of flying to and from the search region, the fleet of P-3 Orion aircraft and other military aircraft have only a precious few hours to scour the search tracks they have been given by Amsa [the Australian Maritime Safety Authority]."

Final confirmation of the disaster came after 17 days and was based on unprecedented analysis of "ping" signals sent to a satellite as the plane continued flying after disappearing from radar when its main locating beacons stopped operating and it veered off course between Malaysia and Vietnam.

As the search for wreckage continues a race is under way to find the black box recorders from the plane. The cockpit voice recorder and a data recorder emit a high-pitched ping underwater for at least 30 days after a crash.

The Australian and US navies are each sending equipment to the search area to hunt for the signals – the Americans dispatching a “towed pinger locator", a cylindrical microphone that is towed behind a ship in a grid pattern and can detect a signal up to two miles away. The Australian navy said it was deploying vessels equipped with acoustic detectors capable of picking up the audible beacon.

"We've got to get lucky," said John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board. "It's a race to get to the area in time to catch the black box pinger while it's still working."

Australia was forced to temporarily suspend all search operations for the missing plane on Tuesday while waiting for an easing of wild seas, heavy rain and gales in the southern Indian Ocean.

The family of the Australian passengers Rod and Mary Burrows spoke to journalists in Queensland on Tuesday and asked that their privacy be respected. “The love and compassion that they shared and their priority of putting their family first will help us get through this together,” said their son Jayden Burrows.

“Our family appreciate all the well wishes and prayers but now we ask for privacy and we request that our wish for family solitude be respected at this time.”

Source: The Guardian UK



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