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Chinese relatives protest in Malaysia over missing plane

February 12, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Chinese relatives of passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight protested Thursday outside the carrier’s office, urging Malaysia to rescind a declaration that all on board have perished.

Flight 370, which disappeared last March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean off western Australia. A search is ongoing but no confirmed debris has been found.

Malaysia’s government on Jan. 29 formally declared the plane an accident and said all 239 people on board were presumed dead, paving the way for compensation claims. It upset victims’ families, who are still waiting for evidence of the plane’s fate.

“I cannot accept it. Where is the debris? Where are the bodies? Nothing is found, why declare it an accident?” said Wang Rung Xiang, 58. Her only son, Hou Bo, 35, was on the plane.

“My daughter is still alive,” another relative wailed, as she was consoled by others.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Thursday that the declaration was intended to allow families to move on and assured the relatives that the international search will continue.

Fifteen Chinese relatives of passengers arrived Wednesday in Malaysia to demand answers, and more are expected to arrive before the Lunar New Year. Most of the passengers were from China.

Wearing red T-shirts with the words “Pray for MH370,” they held posters outside the airline’s office reading, “Who can tell us what happened?”

Three representatives from the group later met with the airline’s management.

The airline said in a statement that it is in constant communication with victims’ families, but is “in no position to provide any further clarification or technical information” at this time on the airplane’s fate.

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