About 50 Chinese relatives of passengers on board missing flight MH370 have arrived in Malaysia to press for answers about the fate of their loved ones.
The grieving families, who have accused Malaysia of hiding information over the fate of the Boeing 777, are calling for a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Razak and his transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein, The Star online said.
Najib’s aide said no meeting with the newly arrived families had been scheduled for Sunday.
A spokeswoman for Malaysia Airlines said she could not comment on the matter out of respect for the families’ privacy.
Many relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers are refusing to accept that the plane crashed into the ocean
Several other Chinese family members have been in Malaysia since shortly after the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers.
Najib announced last week that, based on satellite data and other calculations, the plane with 239 people on board was lost in the Indian Ocean on March 8 after being mysteriously diverted thousands of miles off course.
But many relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers – two thirds of those on board – are refusing to accept that the plane crashed into the ocean until an air and sea search finds some physical evidence.
The family members left through a special lane upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday to avoid waiting media, and reportedly boarded two buses.
Family members have stormed out of the meetings and shouted abuse at officials, claiming Malaysia is concealing the truth.
Irate relatives scuffled with security personnel outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on Tuesday, after authorities allowed a rare protest march in the capital.
Plane diverted from MH370 search for distress beacon
Meanwhile an Australian air force plane has been diverted from the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 to respond to a fishing boat’s emergency distress beacon near Antarctica.
The P3 Orion was on Sunday afternoon sent from the Indian Ocean search zone to look for a fishing boat in trouble about 3240km southwest of Perth and 650km north of the Antarctic mainland, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.
“The rescue coordination centre was unable to establish communications with the vessel and the nature of distress is unknown,” AMSA added.
Authorities sent the P3 as it is capable of dropping survival equipment.
Retrieved debris not part of missing Malaysia Airlines jet
Authorities say objects scooped out of the ocean off Western Australia are not part of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has confirmed a Chinese ship retrieved objects from the southern Indian Ocean on Saturday.
However, it’s believed the items are not related to the flight and are more likely fishing objects or rubbish, AMSA said on Sunday.
Houston named to co-ordinate search
Meanwhile former Defence force chief Angus Houston has been named to co-ordinate the international search effort for the plane carrying 239 passengers and crew, which disappeared more than three weeks ago.
Retired Air Chief Marshal Houston will lead a new joint agency co-ordination centre in Perth, News Corp reports.
The search for debris from the doomed flight shifted north on Friday after new analysis of satellite data.
Four Australian and Chinese ships arrived in the updated search area, 1850km off Perth, on Saturday and another six ships are expected to reach the zone on Sunday.
They are focused on trying to find and pick up various objects spotted by search planes in the past two days.
An Australian Navy ship fitted with a black box detector is also scheduled to leave Perth on Sunday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the black box locator will be deployed with “good reason”.
Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 after veering sharply off course while heading from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard.
AMSA says weather in the search area is forecast to worsen on Sunday with light showers and low cloud.