China / Society

Relatives of missing passengers to leave for Malaysia

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-09 13:43

BEIJING - Malaysia Airlines will help direct relatives of passengers on board its missing flight to fly from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning, said the airline's spokesman on Sunday.

The carrier will arrange for five relatives of each passenger on the MH370 flight to go to Kuala Lumpur, its point of departure, but the first departure will carry only two relatives of each passenger, said Ignatius Ong Ming Choy, representative of Malaysia Airlines, at a press conference.

The airline is registering passengers' family members, while the exact departure time of the Monday flight has not yet been confirmed, he added.

This plan was drawn up in respect for those relatives who want to go to Malaysia, while Monday is the soonest that a departure can be arranged due to issues such as passport procedures, said Hugh Dunleavy, Malaysia Airlines commercial director, at the press conference.

And some other relatives of passengers have expressed an interest in traveling to the waters around the suspected site of the missing plane, he added.

Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, the airline's Chief Executive Officer, said a 93-person work group has come from the company's Kuala Lumpur headquarters to take care of passengers' families and handle their passports and visas.

Once the whereabouts of the plane are ascertained, Malaysia Airlines will fly the family members there.

Rescue teams from Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and China are making all-out efforts to locate the plane, but no breakthrough has been made yet.

The Chinese government dispatched an emergency response team and two navy warships to join the search and rescue mission on Sunday.

A Boeing 777-200 aircraft operated by Malaysia Airlines left Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 12:41 a.m. on Saturday.

Contact with the plane along with its radar signal was lost at 1:20 a.m. on Saturday when it was flying over the Ho Chi Minh air traffic control area in Vietnam. The aircraft was carrying 12 Malaysian flight crew and 227 passengers from 14 countries including 154 from China.

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