Several hundred family members of passengers and crew from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are expected to travel to the West Australian capital in coming weeks, Premier Colin Barnett says.
Perth’s RAAF air base Pearce has been the hub of the international search effort to find the plane, which this week was determined to have plunged into a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean.
Mr Barnett said he expected several hundred family members of the flight’s 239 passengers and crew would arrive in the city in the coming week. The majority of the passengers were from China.
The Chinese government and WA’s Department of Premier and Cabinet was involved in the Commonwealth process to receive the families, he said.
“It’s a little unclear yet exactly how this will pan out, but my understanding is that particularly the relatives of the Chinese passengers who have presumably lost their life will want to come to Perth to be as close as possible to, I guess, the final place,” Mr Barnett told Fairfax radio on Wednesday.
“We as a state government will certainly do all that we can to make their visit as pleasant it can be, given the circumstances. We’ll host them, look after them.
“The West Australian people will do all they can to make sure they are as comfortable, as welcome as possible in what is a very sad event.”
Mr Barnett said a memorial service would be held if the relatives wanted it.
“We would certainly help with that,” he said.
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the relatives who came to pay last respects would receive the utmost understanding and a warm welcome.
“We can all imagine the situation, their shock, worry and heartache,” Ms Scaffidi said.
“We all hope and pray the plane and the black boxes will be found soon to enable the full story to be known.”