Chinese families with loved ones who went missing aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protested in Beijing yesterday after authorities announced the search for the plane would be suspended.
Transportation ministers for Malaysia, Australia and China said last week that the operation would be set aside once an ongoing search of a part of the southern Indian Ocean is complete – a decision that enraged relatives.
“My son is inside the plane. How can such a big plane disintegrate? I know that the plane is intact and leaders are breaking their promises to keep looking until they find answers,” said Li Er You, 59, speaking outside the gates of China’s foreign ministry in Beijing.
The Beijing-bound MH370, with 239 people aboard, disappeared on March 8, 2014 nearly an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
About two dozen relatives stood holding protest signs outside the foreign ministry, before meeting with officials to submit their letter of complaint.
Zhang, a mother whose young daughter went missing on the plane, broke down into tears while holding a sign that said the governments needed to fulfill their promises to the world.
“We are very sad and angry about the joint decision made by the three countries. We see no plan for the future on how to continue to search for the truth ... we want to know who should be responsible,” the letter said.
Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester had said that it is not viable to continue the search after the current area is completed, so long as there is no new information on the aircraft’s whereabouts.
“This decision was not taken lightly nor without sadness, and I want to emphasise that our work is continuing in analysing data, inspecting debris and considering all new information,” he said.
So far, only pieces of debris from MH370 have been discovered, in South Africa, Mozambique, Mauritius and Reunion Island.
Searchers have yet to find the main wreckage.
A family member of a passenger aboard flight MH70 breaks down during a protest outside the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing yesterday. The placard reads: ‘The three governments have an obligation to the world to carry out their promise.’