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    Beachgoers walk past a sand sculpture made by Indian sand artist Sudersan Pattnaik with a message of prayers for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370

    Relatives Scour Beaches for MH370 Debris After 1,000 Days

    © AFP 2019 / Asit Kumar
    Asia & Pacific
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    As the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has passed over 1,000 days, Jiang Hui, a relative of one of the passengers, arrived in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius Sunday to further publicize the families' search for answers to the fate of the airliner.

    Jiang said that he came to the island in search of his mother, after having first visited Madagascar, where possible pieces of debris from the missing airliner were found during a search of the country's beaches last week that involved an international group of relatives of passengers on board.

    Jiang's 73-year-old mother, Jiang Cuiyun, was on the flight that disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 passengers and crew on board, 154 of whom were Chinese.

    "We came here to verify whether the debris is from the missing aircraft that may have drifted across the Indian Ocean as well as to call upon local residents to join in the search, as many of them have never heard about MH370," Jiang told the Global Times.

    Relatives of those who were on MH370 have criticized the Malaysian investigation for failing to collect pieces of debris found in Madagascar six months ago.

    The Malaysian government had failed to retrieve 10 pieces of potential debris found on the beaches of Madagascar, until the relatives' arrival on the island attracted media attention, Jiang said.

    International group

    The international group of seven relatives includes people from China, Malaysia and France.

    Grace Nathan, spokeswoman for the Voice 370 campaign group, said the discovery of debris potentially from the plane had brought "mixed feelings" for the whole group.

    "First time a piece was found by one of us. Such mixed feelings now for all of us — pain, sadness, confusion, hope," she wrote on a Facebook page where the relatives share updates with others bereaved by the incident.

    Jiang said that after arriving in Mauritius Sunday, the group would hold a press conference and meet with local officials on participating in the search for more debris.

    Jiang called for countries along the southern African coastline to jointly launch a mechanism to search for debris, after 20 pieces of potential plane wreckage, many of them found by self-funded American investigator Blaine Gibson, have been spotted in the area.

    "Exploring the truth of MH370 should not only depend on the efforts of some fishermen, beach cleaners or families. More forces should be encouraged to participate," Jiang said.

    "The day we came here marked the 1,000th day since MH370 went missing. We are reminding the world that the search for MH370 has never ended," Jiang said.

    Disappointment

    "All we want is closure. It's like you could gradually accept the sudden death of a loved one in a car crash since you could see everything at the scene. But for us, where is the plane?" said Jack Song, a relative of a missing MH370 passenger.

    "Nothing could be assured without the plane," Song told the Global Times.

    Song's older sister was on the flight. He said that the families are dissatisfied and disappointed since there has been no investigation report or search report on the missing Boeing 777.

    "The absence of information from the authorities has confused some relatives, especially the elderly. All the messages about MH370 have made them suffer," said Song, noting that some parents have chosen to believe that their children were kidnapped and are trapped somewhere.

    Students watch a three-dimensional graffiti as a way of sympathizing to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 at a school in Makati City, the Philippines
    © East News / Xinhua News/Rouelle Umali
    He said that a lack of help from the government to assist the families after the incident, the Malaysian government's buck-passing and wrangling as well Boeing's failure to explain technical aspects have disappointed the relatives.

    Although the Malaysian government declared the disappearance of MH370 was officially an accident, with everyone onboard presumed dead, on January 29, 2015, not all the families of the missing passengers bought it.

    "I am still waiting but it's really suffering … I only have one daughter … all I want now is to have her come back home," said Zhang Meiling, whose daughter and son-in-law were on MH370. Her mother passed away the next day.

    This article originally appeared on the Global Times website

    Topic:
    MH370: A Baffling Mystery Solved? (25)

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    Tags:
    disappearance, Plane crash, MH370, Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia, China
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