The first funerals for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are being held over the weekend as the airline announced that it would be closing assistance centers and Malaysian officials have urged family members to go home and “face reality”.
“We have been waiting to come up with a statement and all of us, be it the family members or the whole world, is actually looking for the answer,” Hamzah Zainudin, Malaysia’s deputy foreign minister, said in a news conference yesterday.
The airline had been supporting family members staying at the Lido Hotel in Beijing for 55 days.
“And that’s the reason its about time for us to actually accept the reality that the family members should go back and wait for the answer in their hometowns.”
Family members broke down on Thursday when the airline informed the group that it would no longer provide assistance centers and mass daily briefings about the plane. Chinese officials assured all that the search for MH370 would continue, but some people returning to their homes in rural China feared they might not receive timely updates due to lack of internet access.
“Malaysia Airlines has promised that they would not ask families to leave the Lido Hotel until they figured out what had happened and had found the plane. But now they go back on their words,” one relative was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.
Meanwhile, friends and family of an Australian couple onboard the flight will hold a memorial service, according to a statement on behalf of the family. Many families staying in Beijing had already left for home.