MH370: Families to be brought to Perth on timeline yet to be determined

Chinese relatives of passengers from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 leave after another meeting with airline officials at the Metro Park Lido Hotel in Beijing on March 23, 2014.

KUALA LUMPUR - Family members of passengers on board the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be brought to Perth, Australia on a timeline that has yet to be determined, said Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin on Monday.

"We are not so sure as to when. What we are looking at is the wreckage; once we find it we will decide on a set day to bring the next-of-kin to Perth.

"We will announce it as soon as we can," said Hamzah, speaking at a press conference held at the Royale Chulan here.

He said the search was still focused on the hunt for the black boxes carried by the Boeing 777.

Earlier on Monday morning, Joint Agency Coordinating Centre chief Angus Houston said that Australian navy ship has detected new signals 'consistent' with aircraft black boxes. A similar signal has been picked up by a Chinese ship, Haixun 01.

In the same press conference acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, said that the search for survivors from the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will still go on although two ships - one Australian and the other Chinese have detected new signals 'consistent' with aircraft black boxes.

Speaking at the latest press conference held at the Royale Chulan here on Monday, Hishammuddin responded to questions saying that the search for survivors remained a priority.

"As far as looking for survivors are concerned, that is our priority and I have said that over and over again. But the leads we have received either from satellite images or other sightings did not show or indicate survivors.

"But I have always said to the families, miracles do happen and we are still hoping against hope. We will continue to hope and pray," said Hishammuddin.

To questions about the issue of insurance claims to be paid out to the next-of-kin of MH370 passengers, Hishammuddin said that meetings with family members had yielded conflicting requests.

"I am aware of the issues and in our meetings with the families, we have got many requests, some conflicting. Some do not want to speak about claims, insurance or otherwise or frozen bank accounts.

"But others want more details about what happens we do receive signals from the black boxes. We are walking a very fine line," said Hishammuddin.

He added that he would like to engage the families of MH370 passengers personally to address these issues.

"But as to the timing, debris, survivors if at all and the black box would be very important as far as timeline goes," he said.

MH370, which had been missing for 17 days before it was declared by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on March 24 to have ended its flight in the Southern Indian Ocean, disappeared from Malaysian radars at 2.15am on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 1.30am.

It carried 239 passengers and crew.

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