MH370: MAS to fly families to area of recovery

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia Airlines will take families of passengers onboard the ill-fated Flight MH370 jet to the recovery area once approval is obtained from the authorities.

"When Malaysia Airlines gets approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to take the families to the recovery area and until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation," it said in a statement late last night.

MAS also explained the reason behind its move to inform family members of the latest development concerning the plane through the short messaging system (SMS), saying it was only an additional means of communication, adding that the next-of-kin were also told via the telephone and in person.

"As the Prime Minister said, respect for the families is essential at this difficult time. And it is in that spirit that we informed the majority of the families in advance of the Prime Minister's statement in person and by telephone.

"SMS was used only as an additional means of communicating with the families. Those families have been at the heart of every action the company has taken since the plane disappeared on March 8 and they will continue to be so."

Claims that the passengers' families were notified only via SMS of the aircraft's fate resulted in an uproar, with foreign news outlets criticising the move. Netizens also took to Twitter and other social media sites to lambast MAS for their "tactlessness" and lack of compassion.