Malaysia, Flight 370 relatives talk financial help

As the search continued off the coast of Australia for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the airline announced another plane bound for India was forced to make an emergency landing early today after one of its tires burst on takeoff.

All 159 passengers and seven crew members arrived safely back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, about 2 am, about four hours after the plane took off for Bangalore, India.

The incident was more drama for an airline already under immense pressure for answers from the public and the families of those missing from Flight 370, more than six weeks after it departed the same airport.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainuddin met with the passengers' relatives in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to talk about where to go next.

Financial assistance was discussed and family members were urged to submit a plan for consideration. He declined to elaborate further, but said a fund could possibly be set up by the government or Malaysia Airlines.

The relatives, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the meeting, saying in a statement that until they have "at least a tiny bit of concrete evidence" that the plane crashed, authorities should not try to settle the case with final payoffs.

"No meaningful report on the progress of the investigation was given" at the meeting, the relatives said, adding that "not a single one" of their questions was answered.

"We realise this is an excruciating time for the families of those on board," said Zainuddin, who heads a committee overseeing the needs of the next of kin. "No words can describe the pain they must be going through. We understand the desperate need for information on behalf of the families and those watching around the world."

He added that he would soon visit Beijing to shore up bilateral relations between Malaysia and China. Two-thirds of the missing plane's 227 passengers were Chinese, and many of their family members have been angered by Malaysia's handling of the investigation, with some accusing the government of lying, incompetence or participating in an outright cover-up.


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