Missing MH370: Families calm at latest briefings

Missing MH370: Families calm at latest briefings
Special envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting (in pink shirt) addresses next-of-kin of Chinese passengers aboard MH370.

BANGI - The loved ones of Chinese passengers onboard the missing MH370 were calm as they were updated about the search, said Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, who is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's special envoy to China.

He said there was a two-hour briefing yesterday, attended by the affected families and Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) representatives.

"We had a frank briefing. The families asked many questions and we addressed them. The atmosphere was peaceful," Ong said in a statement.

About 20 Chinese nationals with loved ones on board the flight have travelled here from Beijing for more information.

Ong, who was appointed to coordinate briefings for the next-of-kin, said he had held four meetings with them so far.

In Beijing, the briefing session by the high-level delegation for the Chinese family members lasted close to seven hours.

Malaysian ambassador to China Datuk Iskandar Sarudin said the questions raised by the next-of-kin yesterday ranged from radar to search and rescue operations to technical details.

"The delegation, including RMAF air operations commander Lt-Jen Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad, Department of Civil Aviation air traffic services director Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar, MAS' representatives, Defence Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office, answered whatever it could to help the families understand the whole situation," he said.

Iskandar described the atmosphere as "very good", an improvement from the meeting on Saturday.

On Saturday, a commotion had erupted when the delegation said it welcomed further questions in written form after fielding 10 questions submitted by the families a day before.

"For the first time, a few of them expressed their appreciation at our presence to provide information that they have been hoping to know.

"Prior to our arrival, our representatives here were not in the position to shed light into some of their queries, which could only be addressed by the relevant authority," said Iskandar.

The meeting was attended by some 400 family members of the 153 Chinese passengers on board.

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