PETALING JAYA – Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Sunday held a private gathering in remembrance of its 12 crew, including a pilot and a co-pilot, who were on board its missing flight MH370.
The gathering, attended by 500 MAS employees and 100 family members of the missing crew, was closed to the media and public, and was held at MAS Academy in Subang near Petaling Jaya, in the morning.
On March 8 last year, the flight MH370 carrying a total of 239 passengers and crew, vanished from radar screens while flying over the South China Sea less than an hour after departing from the KL International Airport at 12.41am.
The Boeing 777-200ER jetliner was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.
Today’s gathering was said to be led by MAS chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof and Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, and joined by members of the Board of Directors and staff across all divisions of the company.
Md Nor in his speech at the gathering, the text of which was given to the press, said 2014 was the saddest year in the history of MAS, with the missing of MH370 and Flight MH17 going down in eastern Ukraine on July 17 last year.
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew on board and is believed to have been shot down over the troubled country, but no one has claimed responsibility for the incident.
Md Nor said the MH370 tragedy was a uniquely unprecedented happening with the most unprecedented chain of repercussions and response.
“It has been one year since March 8, 2014, we are no closer to finding resolution. We are still asking and seeking for an answer to what happened to MH370 and we will remind ourselves and all with responsibility to remember and to continue searching,” he said.
He stressed that “our thoughts and prayers also go for the loved ones of all those who perished on MH17.”
Meanwhile, Ahmad Jauhari in his speech (text also made available) at the function said:”We know that nothing can replace having your loved ones near, but it is our sincere hope that we have been able to provide some comfort and support, to help you through these difficult times.
“Whilst MH370 was a most tragic episode for all of them, it also brought out the best in MAS.
“Watching how the whole organisation came together, united, supported each other as a family in crisis, really amazed me.
“I am deeply honoured and touched by the spirit of volunteerism by everyone who came forward offering to help in any way you could,” he added.
Ahmad Jauhari thank the government and the international governments who shared expertise and resources.
To date, the search operation at the seas in the southern Indian Ocean – where the plane was supposed to have disappeared – has covered about 40 per cent of the 60,000sq km search area and about 208,000sq km of the ocean had been mapped.
On Jan 29, the Malaysian Government declared the disappearance of MH370 as an accident under international aviation regulations and that all 239 passengers and crew on board were presumed dead.
Meanwhile Niam Seet Wei from Beijing reports that dozens of Chinese next-of-kin of those on board the ill-fated aircraft gathered at the Yonghegong Lama Temple to pray for the safe return of their loved ones.
Wearing white t-shirts with words “Never Give Up; Search On; Bring MH370 Home”, the families assembled in front of the Buddhist temple holding papers with “Daddy I Miss You”, “MH370 Tell Us Truth” and “#cryforthetruth” written on them.
Cheng Liping, whose husband Ju Kun was on board the aircraft, said their two sons, aged six and two, had been waiting for their father to return home.
She was offering her prayers at the temple for her husband’s safe return, when met by journalists.
Li Zhi, whose father was on board MH370, accompanied her grandmother to the temple to pray for the return of her father and drew colourful pictures writing “Daddy I Miss You” on her paper.
Her grandmother was seen holding the one that said: “Mum’s heart is broken, where are you my son.”
The relatives also signed the “Petition to Appeal for the Continuation of Search for the Missing of MH370.”
Another next-of-kin Jiang Hui, whose mother was on board the flight. urged the Malaysian, Australian and Chinese governments to not give up the search efforts.
Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai on Saturday reassured the priority now was on the search but a new plan would be devised if nothing was found by the end of May.
The Boeing 777-200ER carrying 239 passengers, mostly Chinese, and crew, was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 am on March 8 last year. It is believed to have ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
The Department of Civil Aviation on Jan 29 announced Flight MH370 was officially declared an accident under international aviation rules, and that all 239 passengers and crew were presumed to have lost their lives.
Most of the Chinese relatives had rejected the declaration and had demanded the statement to be retracted. – BERNAMA