Flight MH370: six months on emotions run high
Prayers turn into protests in Beijing, with relatives no closer to answers about mystery of flight MH370
Relatives of the passengers on board Malaysia Airlines' missing flight MH370 have gathered at a Beijing temple to commemorate six-months since the disappearance of the plane.
But prayers soon turned into a demonstration, with relatives demanding answers and accountability from the airline as well as the Chinese and Malaysian governments. Police reportedly attempted to disperse people, sparking a confrontation.
"Where are our children?" one woman shouted. "Mum and dad are waiting for you!" said another.
"I think Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government are cheating people – and while the whole world is watching, nobody will tell us anything," Dai Shuqin told The Guardian, whose sister was on the plane.
Investigators are no closer to solving "the greatest aviation mystery in recent history," the paper says, six months after flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.
At the end of this month the Dutch company Fugro will begin the next phase of the search for the missing aircraft, with officials saying they still remain "cautiously optimistic" that that the missing plane will be found.
However, not everyone shares their confidence. "We need to remember … that it took two years to find Air France flight AF447, whose last position was known with much more precision," Daniel O'Malley from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We're dealing with a much more challenging set of circumstances."
Relatives have been offered $50,000 in compensation from the airline but most have refused to accept it, according to Bian Liangwei, whose brother was on board the flight. "All we care about is getting back our relatives," said Bian. "Without any proof that they're dead, we can only assume they're still alive."
Malaysia Airlines in 'bucket list' gaffe after MH370 and MH17
Malaysia Airlines has been forced to rename a new "bucket list" competition condemned as "macabre" in the wake of the MH370 and MH17 disasters.
The beleaguered airline announced last week that it would give out 12 return tickets to Malaysia to its Australian and New Zealand customers as part of a promotion entitled "My Ultimate Bucket List".
Customers were asked to tell the airline which destinations were on their bucket list, a term often used to refer to the things someone wants to do before they die – or "kick the bucket".
Critics immediately attacked the airline for the tasteless marketing ploy. Time magazine called it "macabre" and "horrific" given that 537 people lost their lives flying on the airline this year, while even the Malaysian Insider admitted it "was not exactly the best choice of words".
All 298 people on flight MH17 died when the plane was shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border on 18 July and 239 people on flight MH370 are missing and believed dead after the plane disappeared on 8 March. MH370 inexplicably vanished on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Investigators believe it went down in the Indian Ocean but no trace of the aircraft has been found.
"Malaysia Airlines has withdrawn the title of a recent competition running in Australia and New Zealand, as it is found to be inappropriate at this point in time," a statement by the airline said today. "The competition had been earlier approved as it was themed around a common phrase that is used in both countries. The airline appreciates and respects the sentiments of the public and in no way did it intend to offend any parties."
The contest has now been renamed "Win an iPad or Malaysia Airlines flight to Malaysia", with entrants invited to share their "life's ultimate to-do list".
Flight MH370 'veered off course earlier than thought'
After further analysis of satellite data, authorities searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 now believe the plane may have changed course earlier than had previously been thought.
As a result, they will focus their efforts on the southern part of the search area identified in the Indian Ocean.
The decision was based on refinement of satellite data relating to the final known movements of the Boeing 777 airliner, the BBC reports.
If the new analysis is correct, the final resting place for the wreckage of the MH370 may lie in a remote area of the ocean to the west of the Australian city of Perth.
The aircraft vanished with 239 people onboard while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March. Investigators still do not know what happened to the flight, and say that finding the plane's black box recorders will be the key to understanding the aviation mystery.
In a press conference yesterday, the Australian deputy prime minister Warren Truss said that experts now believe that the jet "might have turned south a little earlier than we had previously expected".
The Dutch contractor Fugro Survey will begin a new search in three weeks using underwater vehicles equipped with side-scan sonar – a system than can create images of large areas of the sea floor – multi-beam echo sounders and video equipment to try to recover the missing plane, Truss said.
Malaysia maintains overall responsibility for the search, but Australia has taken on a practical role in coordinating the operation. China – the country that had the most citizens onboard the flight – reaffirmed that the search will "not be interrupted or given up".
Malaysia Airlines announced today that it will cut a fifth of its staff, including its chief executive, in a bid to revive the company's ailing fortunes and avert the threat of total collapse. The Malaysian government said that through its radical restructuring plan it hopes to achieve "sustained commercial viability" in four to five years.
More about Flight MH370:
Ghost flight theory 'most likely' explanationPilot had rehearsed landing on island runwayMystery cargo continues to raise questionsRelatives to offer $3m reward for informationBook claims missing plane was shot downFlight MH370: flight path suggests plane went 'rogue'Former PM accuses Malaysia of cover-up Plane 'has crashed with no survivors' Pilot of missing plane deleted simulator data'Deliberate action' diverted Malaysian airlinerPhantom phone calls cause upset for families ·