SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- On Thursday, after releasing a long-awaited report and audio records of communications between air traffic controllers and flight crews, Malaysian Airlines announced that it would be closing the assistance centers it sponsored for the relatives of passengers lost with Flight 370. Family members wailed and shouted at the news in Beijing’s Lido Hotel, where they had been hosted. For hundreds of anguished people, closure of the centers means an end to daily briefings. But the scene devolved from despair to tortured chaos when the airline told relatives it would be flying them back home aboard its planes.
“Instead of staying in hotels, the families of MH370 are advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends,” Malaysian Airlines stated in a news release. The company also eluded to opening new centers in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, but failed to elaborate on what roles those facilities would play.
Witnesses at the hotel described people breaking down into tears during the seven-minute announcement; the centers had served as important informational hubs.
“But when the man on the TV said Malaysian Air would fly families back to their homes on their jets, even at no cost, people began screaming and panicking,” one woman, a Chinese national, told reporters.
“There was a lot of yelling,” recounted a businessman from the United States who had colleagues on Flight 370. “They had to call in police officers to contain the crowd. Everybody was refusing to leave -- well, they filed out of the lobby without incident but threatened to burn themselves alive on the streets if they were forced to board any of Malaysian Airlines’ planes.”
A young woman who still believes her father is alive, describing the incident as a politically motivated hostage situation, said relatives at the hotel were shouting, “They’re trying to make us vanish, too! They’re trying to eliminate all the witnesses!”
The woman, identifying herself only as “Citra,” said she plans to sneak out of the hotel and return home on her own, using any alternative travel means necessary.
“I will take buses, boats, hitchhike with strangers, prostitute myself or walk a thousand miles, but I will not get on a Malaysian Airlines flight,” she asserted. “They may find my dead body on the side of a road -- starved, dehydrated or even raped -- but at least someone will find it.”
2014. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.