Chinese relatives of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 passengers wept, begged and cursed a Malaysian diplomat in Beijing on Monday.
They went to a meeting at a hotel there, expecting a long-awaited briefing from Malaysian technical experts, but erupted in anger when the diplomat announced a change in plans.
There would be no briefing.
“We don’t know at this point whether they are alive or dead. And you haven’t given us any direct proof of where they actually are. We want our loved ones back,” a father of a missing passenger cried.
He’s not the only one waiting for answers.
In Kuala Lumpur, Nur Laila Ngah smiles, but it’s a brave face she’s putting on.
Her husband Wan Swaid Ismail was a member of the cabin crew on the flight that disappeared more than six weeks ago.
“Emotionally, it’s up and down. You know? Sometimes, I’m OK. Sometimes, so-so. Sometimes — always — very sad,” she said.
The couple had been planning to celebrate their 13th anniversary this year. They have three children, ages 12, 10 and 8.
Recalling a conversation she had with her husband before he left, Laila said: “I was asking him, ‘Are we going to have the next 13 years together?’ Of course.”
Their children, she said: “They have faith that their father will be coming back.”
But 46 days into the search, that possibility seems less and less likely.
The underwater drone scanning the ocean for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was wrapping up its ninth mission Tuesday with “no contacts of interest” in its last eight, the Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said.
The Bluefin-21 has scanned about two thirds of the intended territory without finding any sign of the missing plane.
These efforts may be a main focus of the search, but they aren’t the only part.
The coordination center announced Tuesday morning that up to 10 military aircraft and 10 ships would participate in the day’s search for the Boeing 777 and the 239 passengers and crew on board.
Later, it said that planned air activities had been suspended because of poor weather conditions triggered by Tropical Cyclone Jack.
“It has been determined that the current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility, and would make any air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous,” the coordination center said in a statement.
According to U.S. Navy spokesman Chris Johnson, there is “currently a broad discussion among all stakeholders” about how the search operation should proceed in the long run.
The discussions are “in the early stages” still, he said, but authorities are looking ahead for planning as far out as July.
For families of the missing passengers, the wait is agonizing — and infuriating.
Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry says it understands their need for answers, but doesn’t have many to offer.
That is perhaps the most frustrating thing for Mohamad Shaari, whose cousin and his new wife were on the flight. They were on their way to Beijing for their honeymoon.