MH370: Malaysia says China has new images of floating objects

China will be sending ships to verify, says Malaysian Minister

Kuala Lumpur/Beijing: China has new satellite images of one or more floating objects that could be related to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Saturday.

"The news that I just received is that the Chinese ambassador received satellite image of floating objects in the southern corridor and they will be sending ships to verify," Hishammuddin told a news briefing in Kuala Lumpur.

It was not immediately clear how many possible objects had been spotted, but the minister said one was estimated at 22 metres by 30 metres (72 by 98 feet).

“The Beijing government will announce this in a couple of hours," he added.

The news came as Hishammuddin was in the middle of his daily press briefing on the search for MH370.

"This is coming to me as quick as you are seeing on TV right now," the minister said, adding that he was wrapping up the briefing early in order "to follow this lead".

Meanwhile, police were forced to intervene on Saturday as relatives of Chinese passengers aboard vanished Flight MH370 rushed towards Malaysian officials at a Beijing hotel, demanding answers over the fate of their loved ones.

The confrontation at the Lido Hotel came as the search for the missing jet entered its third week, with many clinging to the hope that family members might still be alive and alleging Malaysian involvement in a cover-up.

A total of 153 Chinese were on board the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared from civilian radar screens on March 8, nearly an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane was carrying 239 passengers and crew.

"Government of Malaysia, tell us the truth! Give us back our loved ones!" shouted audience members at Saturday's briefing at the hotel attended by government officials. The hotel has hosted daily briefings for relatives from representatives of the airline.

"The Malaysian government is deceiving us. They don't dare to face us. The Malaysian government are the biggest murderers," a relative in the audience shouted, even though there is no evidence to suggest a government conspiracy.

As anger in the hall mounted, some relatives rushed towards the Malaysian officials but police intervened and the officials left the room.

"We can't bear it any longer," one woman said. "They're offering us compensation, but we've lost our entire families. This is China. They can't just tell us to come or go as they please. We're going to wait here. If they don't come, we're not leaving."

Dozens of countries have been involved in the search for the missing plane but the lack of firm answers from airline officials has undermined the relatives' confidence in the hunt for the jet.

On Friday, a first meeting was organised between the passengers' families and Malaysian government officials. That meeting also resulted in heated exchanges, boos and eruptions of anger.

Six planes, including four Orion anti-submarine aircraft packed with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, joined the search for debris from the aircraft over a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean, 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth on Saturday.

Saturday's confrontation left several family members weeping in the briefing room at the Lido Hotel.

Afterwards, some of the relatives released a statement to reporters explaining their concerns.

"We want to express our pleas to the people of the world and the media. Our pleas are reasonable, legitimate and natural," the statement read.

"The Malaysian government sent a group of representatives to speak with us," it continued. "But despite being well-educated senior officials, they weren't able to answer our questions."

"That indicates they are trying to deceive us."

( Source : AFP )
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