Shouts, chaos as families protest handling of missing plane
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN) — A protest turned into a chaotic scene Wednesday, a sign that patience is fraying among the relatives of the passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The families of the missing have been mostly out of the spotlight as Malaysian authorities spearhead a mission to locate the plane. But as Day 12 rolled around with no answers, the frustration became evident.
Three women, relatives of the passengers, staged a protest at the Kuala Lumpur hotel where the world’s press is staying. Their efforts were cut short by security guards who removed them through a crush of reporters, dragging one as she screamed.
“I don’t care what your government does,” one woman shouted, referring to the Malaysians. “I just want my son back.”
The flashes from dozens of cameras lit up her face as she spoke.
The woman identified herself as the mother of Li Le, a 26-year-old Chinese national aboard the missing plane.
“My son,” she said, weeping. “I just want my son back.”
Another woman, wearing a blue shirt, white baseball cap, sunglasses and a face mask raised her right arm as she demanded more information from the Malaysian government.
“We need media from the entire world help us find our lost families and find the MH370 plane,” the woman said. “We have no information at all. … They only say ‘keep searching’ — from South China Sea to Malacca Strait to Andaman Sea.”
She and the other families waiting in Kuala Lumpur said they aren’t satisfied with “the Malaysian government’s inaction.”
“What we need is to know the truth, to know where the plane is,” she shouted. “We have had enough. Malaysian government are liars.”
Guards then escorted the women out, apparently against their will.
The screams of Li Le’s mother were piercing as she was dragged through a sea of reporters.
The other two women were also led out by guards. All three were taken to a room in the hotel, where Malaysian authorities blocked the door.
The agony of the wait was felt not just in Kuala Lumpur. Families in Beijing — the scheduled destination for MH370 — also gather daily for a briefing with officials.
Ye Lun, whose brother-in-law is on the missing plane, says every day is the same. He and his group leave the hotel in the morning for a daily briefing, and that’s it. They go back to the hotel to watch the news on television.
The deepening mystery has taken its toll on the families.
The emotions of Ye’s sister — wife of one of the passengers — have become very unstable, he said.
“Every morning, she feels that she’s got hope when she comes to the briefing. Then they simply say those blurry things again,” Ye said. “Then she loses hope again.”
He continued: “It’s like this every single day. She always hopes that a miracle will happen, but it doesn’t. I don’t know when this miracle will happen. How many days have we got left, I don’t know.”
Ye’s brother-in-law is a veteran of the Malaysia Airlines’ Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route, a silver-level frequent flyer.
The airline’s handling of the situation is so unpopular that the families in Beijing are talking about potential lawsuits. Ye asked for an envoy from the airline to confer with the families to explain the details of the situation.
“The longer the wait, the bigger the mental shadow we have,” he said.
CNN’s Kyung Lah, Yuli Yang, Kevin Wang and Atika Shubert contributed to this report