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Australia prepares to receive families shattered by loss

By Karl Wilson (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-26 08:50

The Chinese consulate in Perth is quiet at the moment. But that may change in the coming days as relatives from Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 start to arrive in Australia.

Australia prepares to receive families shattered by loss

Overnight, Malaysian authorities officially confirmed what many had been thinking for days now: that the flight carrying 239 passengers - most of whom were Chinese - and a crew of 12 had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

The late-night flight from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to Beijing departed on time on March 8 and should have taken around six hours.

How flight MH370 managed to fly undetected in the opposite direction out into the Indian Ocean is still a mystery, but for now the families of the passengers and crew who perished on board the ill-fated flight have some closure: at least they know the flight crashed and no one survived.

Closure will come when they can see the actual area where flight MH370 went down.

The consulate appears new with a neatly laid lawn on a quiet street.

Inside the visa section, a couple of people are waiting for visas to China.

A young man approaches and apologizes profusely that the consul-general is "very busy".

"This is a big tragedy and relatives will want to come here and we have to prepare for that. There are a lot of arrangements that have to be made," he said.

"I hope you understand."

For the media, it is still a waiting game. We are constantly reminded that despite Malaysia's announcement that flight MH370 crashed and there were no survivors, no debris has been collected or analyzed. But it is pretty certain now that what satellites have spotted from space and Chinese and Australian maritime reconnaissance crews have also seen is wreckage.

Australia is now preparing to receive the families of the passengers and crew who perished. Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaking in the Australian parliament on Tuesday said: "In the coming days and weeks relatives will wish to come to Australia. I want them to know they will be in the arms of a decent country."

At the Royal Australian Pearce Air Force base on the other side of town, Australian Defense Minister Sen. David Johnston and senior defense chiefs had lunch with the Chinese and Japanese air crews to thank them for the work they have done.

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