Relatives suspect plane debris could be ‘fake’

Chinese family members of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines flight reacted with anger and scepticism yesterday after Malaysia’s government said a piece of wing debris found on an Indian Ocean island last week was from the plane.

Relatives suspect plane debris could be ‘fake’

Flight MH370 was carrying 239 passengers and crew when it disappeared in March last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Most of those on board were Chinese.

The Malaysian prime minister’s announcement that the barnacle-covered piece of wing known as a flaperon was part of the MH370 Boeing 777 was the first direct evidence the plane had crashed in the ocean.

However, those mourning lost loved ones said the discovery raised fresh doubts and offered little resolution.

“Find the people for us. We suspect that the airplane wreckage could be faked”, Liu Kun, whose younger brother was on board, told Reuters by telephone.

“Parts previously used and exchanged in maintenance could be thrown down there, but the people right now cannot be found.”

Malaysia has said the debris was “conclusively confirmed” as part of MH370 but the deputy prosecutor in France, where it is being analysed, stopped short of a definitive link, fanning the suspicions of family members.

Grief has given way to anger for relatives since the plane disappeared and they have accused Malaysian authorities of ignoring their demands and withholding information.

Protests outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing weeks after the plane disappeared also unnerved Chinese authorities who are wary of any form of public protest. Some relatives have complained of detention and surveillance.

Liu said authorities did not give relatives advance notice of their announcement and had long disregarded requests to review airport security data or video of passengers boarding. “I don’t believe any information the Malaysian government provides,” he said.

Others said they were not “living in denial” but wanted more than “supposition”.

“We owe it to our loved ones not to declare them lost without 100% certainty”, said a short statement posted to the official microblog of missing Chinese passengers’ families.


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