Malaysian Airlines abruptly announced Monday that it had to “assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived.” Those words came in the form of a text message sent to the missing flight’s passengers’ family members, in advance of an official statement from Malaysia’s prime minister.
The families on the receiving end didn’t take kindly to the message or the manner in which it was delivered. Families gathered in Beijing read a blistering rebuke of Malaysian Airlines and authorities on Monday:
“At 10pm on March 25, the Malaysian prime minister sent a statement to the families of MH370 passengers without any direct evidence that MH370 crashed in the south Indian ocean and no people survived.
From March 8 when they announced that MH370 lost contact to today, 18 days have passed during which the Malaysian government and military constantly tried to delay, deceive the passengers’ families and cheat the whole world.
This shameless behaviour not only fooled and hurt the families of the 154 passengers but also misguided and delayed rescue actions, wasting a large quantity of human resources and materials and lost valuable time for the rescue effort.
If the 154 passengers did lose their lives, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and military are the real executioners who killed them. We the families of those on board submit our strongest protest against them.
We will take every possible means to pursue the unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three.”
Malaysian Airlines claims a representative for the company told the assembled families in person, and that phone calls and SMS messages were only sent to relatives who were not in the family-support center.
The search for the missing airliner, however, appears to be far from over. Chinese authoritiesdemanded that Malaysia hand over relevant satellite data, while The Telegraph reports that “well-placed sources” in the investigation say data points not to a fire or malfunction, but a “suicide mission.”
Flight MH370 disappeared during its March 8 path from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing International Airport. The plane had 239 people on board.