Missing MH370: Glimmer of hope for families of passengers

Missing MH370: Glimmer of hope for families of passengers
Zamani Zakaria ,56, (C) whose son was aboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 talks to the media at the Everly hotel in Putrajaya on March 12, 2014.

PUTRAJAYA - The news that confirmed that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had made an air turn back brought a glimmer of hope for the families and next of kin of the passengers and crew on board the aircraft.


"It has been a week since we last heard anything new. This latest update gives us hope that they could still be alive," said 60-year-old Selamat Omar, the father of aviation engineer Mohamad Khairul Amri, 29, who was on board the Boeing 777 which went missing on March 8.

He said it was a relief, and, although there was still no leads pointing to where the aircraft might have landed, he was confident the authorities were doing all they could.

Selamat had followed the live telecast on the update by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak here yesterday.

He said his family had initially speculated about what might have happened to the plane, just like everyone else, but with this piece of news, he believed it would lead to something.

"We are praying and hoping. We understand this has not been easy. The search and rescue operation not only involved Malaysia, but also other countries ... it is a multinational effort," he said, adding all that mattered now was the safe return of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

Najib told reporters yesterday that the Malaysian authorities have re-focused their investigation on crew and passengers aboard as evidence was consistent with someone acting deliberately from inside the plane.

He said that investigators have not pinpointed a specific explanation but have widened the search to two corridors, including the area near the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border and a swath from Indonesia to southern India.

Najib added that despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, the authorities were also investigating other possibilities why the aircraft deviated from its original Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route.

Muhammad Fikri Zamani, 11, who is the youngest brother of passenger Mohd Razahan Zamani, 23, said the news was uplifting.

"I miss my brother very much. We are very close. We used to go to the movies together.

"The last movie we watched together was Sejoli and it was before he flew to Beijing with his wife. I hope they come back soon," he said adding that before his brother left for China, he had promised to bring souvenirs home for the family. Razahan and his wife, Norli Akmar Hamid, 33, were on a holiday to Beijing after her recent miscarriage.

They were scheduled to return to Malaysia on March 12.

Their father, Zamani Zakaria, 56, said the family still harboured hope the aircraft could be found and the passengers and crew members were safe and sound.

"It has been a long wait. My family and I have been waiting here (at the Everly Hotel) since last Sunday," he said, adding that although the recent news brought some assurance to the family, it was still too vague.

At least 15 of Zamani's family members are waiting at Everly Hotel for the latest updates on flight MH370.

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