Malaysia declares mh370 flight disappearance an accident

By Drum Digital
29 January 2015

Malaysia on Thursday declared the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as an accident and said all the 239 people aboard are presumed dead, paving the way for compensation claims.

The plane disappeared an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8. A huge search operation in the southern Indian Ocean has failed to find the wreckage.

"With the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow.we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident," said Azharuddin Abul Rahman, chief of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation.

"All 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives," he said in a televised statement. "It is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process."

Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that its representatives would soon be contacting the appointed next of kin to proceed with the compensation process.

"The airline remains steadfast to ensure that fair and reasonable compensation is paid to the families of all MH370 passengers in accordance with the applicable laws," it said.

The airline added that it will deploy more resources at its support centres in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.

The announcement drew angry reactions from relatives and loved ones in China, where most of the passengers were from, and where many have resisted declaring the missing dead before finding the wreckage.

"I hope those bastards die horrible deaths," a man calling himself Zhang Jianyi wrote on an online forum with journalists in reaction to the move by Malaysian authorities.

"Such an announcement without any evidence - this shows lack of principles," wrote another, calling herself Yingying.

In Kuala Lumpur, several relatives took to the social networking site Facebook and Twitter to express their disgust over the government declaration.

"It's cold and cruel," Intan Maizura Othaman, whose husband was one of the flight crew, posted on Twitter. "Prime Minister Najib Razak, thank you sir for declaring my husband's death to the world and not to us, family."

"I can accept the fact that they won't come back," tweeted Maira Elizabeth Nari, whose father, Andrew, was the plane's chief steward. "But justice is a must for the families of MH370."

Azharuddin assured the families that the search for the missing MH370 would remain a priority, "with the continuing cooperation and assistance of the governments of China and Australia," he added.

Search operations have focused on the southern Indian Ocean, where data showed the jetliner was likely to have crashed.

Before the announcement, around two dozen people demonstrated outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, calling for the search not to be stopped.

"The search is not over and they have not gotten enough evidence to conclude the aircraft is lost!" said Zhang Yuxi, father of one of the passengers.

"It would be disrespectful to life and disrespectful to the Chinese people" to call off the search before finding any wreckage, he said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry put out a statement to "assure the families of all the Chinese passengers that they are always on the mind of the Party and the government, who will be with them through these trying times."

China also called on Malaysia to fulfill all its obligations to the victims and those left behind.

The statement called on Malaysia to "fulfill its obligation of compensation, protect the lawful rights and interests of the families and provide them with support and assistance."

"We also call on the Malaysian side to remain fully committed to the search and investigation efforts and keep the families updated on the latest progress," it added.

-SAPA

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