AirAsia disaster rekindles pain for MH370 relatives

Dec 30, 2014, 15:49 IST | PTI

Beijing: Tearful relatives of those on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 today said their torment has been awakened anew by the AirAsia loss in Indonesia, nine months into their nightmare.

"It is just like what happened nine months ago when I heard the news of MH370," said Steven Wang, whose 57-year-old
mother was on the flight which remains one of the biggest aviation mysteries ever.

"I can feel the desperation that the next-of-kin are suffering now. It is terrible. It is horrible," he said.

Wang emerged as one of the most vociferous campaigners for answers on how MH370 went missing on March 8, one hour
into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

An unofficial leader of hundreds of Chinese relatives who packed into often rowdy meetings with airline officials in the weeks after the disappearance, Wang was a sombre shadow of his former self after months of anguish.

"Most of the time now we are asking for information, but they say they have nothing," he said, with a dejected, weary tone. Two-thirds of the 239 people on board the missing Boeing 777 are Chinese citizens.

A vast multi-national search has failed to find any sign of wreckage of MH370. On Tuesday authorities looking for AirAsia flight QZ8501 -- also owned by a Malaysian airline -- said they had found bodies, the shadow of a plane and debris in the sea off Indonesia.

Selamat Omar, whose son Mohamad Khairul Amri Selamat was on MH370, said the news on AirAsia would provide some solace
to victims' families.

"It looks like there could be no survivors after the QZ8501 crashed into the sea. I praise the Indonesian authorities and neighbouring countries for finding the plane in less than 50 hours after the plane vanished," he said.

"Now the victims' families can console themselves and give the victims a proper burial. The families can now have a
closure and have a peace of mind which I am dying for."

For other families of MH370, coping with their personal nightmare has filled the days since the plane vanished.

"Our entire life is a mess now," said Xu Jinghong, whose 65-year-old mother Liu Fengying was one of 153 Chinese
passengers who failed to return home.

"I lost 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) in weight, I couldn't sleep well and don't dare to see photos of my mother or think about her," she added, her voice cracking with emotion.

The disappearance of QZ8501 off Indonesia on Sunday sparked deep personal reflection on the plight of the relatives of the 162 people on board.

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