| Sept 5
Sept 5 A father clutches his daughter's teddy
bears, a woman holds her husband's car key, a newly-wed shows
off a bedroom decorated for children yet to be born. Six months
on, loved ones of passengers on a missing Malaysian airliner
derive what comfort they can going forward from what's left
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 mostly Chinese
people on board, disappeared on March 8 about an hour into a
journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the world's greatest
More than two dozen countries have been involved in the air,
sea and underwater search for the Boeing 777 but months of
sorties have failed to turn up any trace - even after narrowing
the search area to the southern Indian Ocean - long after
batteries on the black box voice and data recorders had gone
Satellite pictures revealed debris analysed endlessly in the
media, leads which all proved fruitless.
The lack of news meant many families for a while clung to
the hope that perhaps the plane landed somewhere safely and
their loved ones were still alive.
Then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sombrely announced
that, according to fresh analysis of satellite data, the jet had
ended its journey in the remote southern Indian Ocean.
At the Beijing hotel where many of the relatives were
staying, family members erupted in shouts and tears, in some
cases dropping to the floor.
"It's not possible, it's not possible!" one woman screamed
In many cases, dashed hopes turned to anger, with
overwrought relatives turning on Malaysian and Chinese
authorities, shouting at briefings and throwing water bottles,
blaming them for the slow progress in tracking down the plane.
One Chinese woman told Reuters she couldn't go out without
taking her missing sister's handbag with her. Another agonised
over the fact that the last phone call she had with her missing
husband was an argument. His tea cup stays put on a desk, now
covered in dust.
The focus of investigations varied over the months after
clearing all 227 passengers of possible involvement in
hijacking, sabotage or having personal or psychological problems
that could have been connected to the disappearance.
Investigators say what little evidence they have to work
with suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of
kilometres from its scheduled route before eventually plunging
into the Indian Ocean.
The passengers and crew most likely died from suffocation
and coasted lifelessly into the ocean on autopilot, an
Australian report said in June.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss last week said
that new information suggested that the airliner may have turned
south earlier than previously believed and that as a result, the
focus would be the southern area of the search zone.
That information was based in part on an attempt to map the
position of the plane at the time of a failed satellite
telephone call by Malaysia Airlines on the ground to the plane.
Malaysia Airlines was hit by a second tragedy in July when
Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over a
conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.
The MH17 disaster came just as some in Malaysia were
beginning to get over what happened in March.
"For something like this to happen, just four months after
MH370, just when we were beginning to get on with life, it is
just very difficult to take," one airline executive told Reuters
at Kuala Lumpur airport at the time, sobbing as he spoke.
"You can't imagine how draining it is, how emotional it is.
Everyone can't believe this is happening again, we are going
through all of the emotions once again."