MH370: Frustration, hope mark 2nd anniversary

MH370: Frustration, hope mark 2nd anniversary
A boy with his face painted with the missing Malaysia Airlines ill-fated flight MH370 logo looks on during a memorial event in Kuala Lumpur on March 6, 2016.

The families of those on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 marked the second anniversary of the plane's disappearance with mixed emotions - frustration over the lack of answers from officials, and hope buoyed by the discovery of a second piece of debris last week.

Performances and tribute messages filled the air at yesterday's event to remember the 239 people on the Boeing 777 that vanished after taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing in the early hours of March 8, 2014.

"I think we are done with all the sobbing and wailing," said Ms Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of inflight superviser Patrick Gomes.

"We're fighting for a cause," Ms Gonzales added, as the family members stood together on a stage at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.

A massive multinational search effort is coming to an end sometime in June, when four ships are due to finish combing the seas off western Australia.

"I want to let my mother know that I'll never give up," said Mr Jiang Hui, a former telecommunications engineer from China whose mother Jiang Cuiyun was on the ill-fated flight. He was in KL to attend the event with some other family members of Chinese passengers. He struggled to hold back his tears as he described his loss, and the airline's refusal to hold an event in Beijing for families there.

Yesterday's event was organised by support group Voice370.

The Malaysian government said it would not hold an official memorial service this year and would mark the anniversary on Tuesday with a ceremony in Parliament.

Like Mr Jiang, many family members have expressed frustration with MAS and the lack of answers from the authorities. "We get our information from the media and hear all sorts of fairy tales," said Madam Zainab Ariffin, mother of flight attendant Hazrin Hasnan.

The information void has led to multiple lawsuits being filed in the past week by families of passengers as the March 8 deadline for legal action against MAS approaches. Family members including Mr Jiang said the suits were not meant to seek monetary compensation but rather access to documents that relatives hope would provide some answers.

More than two weeks after the plane went missing, the Malaysian government declared the plane to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. But the authorities have not been able to ascertain why the plane turned back from its original path.

In July last year, a piece of debris found on La Reunion island, off the coast of Madagascar, was confirmed to be part of MH370.

Last week, the Malaysian authorities acknowledged another piece of debris was found, this time off Mozambique, but it has yet to be confirmed if it belongs to MH370. It will undergo tests in Australia.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters in a separate event yesterday that Malaysian investigators are in Mozambique and will meet local officials today.

As about 150 guests and curious onlookers watched the performances come to a close, family members insisted it was not the end.

"There's more to find. All we have right now are memories," said Ms Gonzales before she led family members to release 240 balloons - representing the 239 people on board, plus the aircraft.

This article was first published on March 7, 2016.
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