Some families of missing Malaysian jetliner angry over initial response
Saturday, March 08, 2014 - 01:24
March 8 - Some Chinese relatives of the passengers on board a Malaysian Airlines flight that went missing off of Vietnam are angry over what they say was the airline's initial lack of response. Mana Rabiee reports.
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Tensions were high at this Beijing hotel on Saturday.
That's where family members of the passengers on board a missing Malaysian Airlines plane waited anxiously for news of their loved ones.
The Boeing passenger plane carrying 239 people on board was en route to the Chinese capital from Kuala Lampur.
It went missing near the South China Sea off Vietnam about an hour or so into the flight.
Relatives complained about their treatment by the airline, saying no was in touch with them or giving them any information.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, WHOSE MOTHER WAS ON MISSING PLANE, SAYING:
"Some people are crying, some are checking information on their mobile phones, there is nothing in the rooms except for some water, biscuits and bread. There is nothing else. People are sitting in chairs, or even on the floor, because there are not enough chairs."
There were no reports of bad weather or an emergency on the plane.
A Malaysian Airlines representative said on Saturday that a search and rescue operation was underway.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED MALAYSIA AIRLINES REPRESENTATIVE, SAYING:
"We are working with authorities who have actively activated the search and rescue team to locate the aircraft. Our team is currently calling the next of kin of passengers and crew...Our thoughts and prayers are deeply with the affected passengers and the family members."
Among the passengers were 24 Chinese artists and their families, in Malaysia for an art exchange program.
If confirmed, a crash would likely mark Boeing's deadliest incident since the American jetliner entered service 19 years ago.
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