Waiting and searching for missing flight continue after 47 hours
BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua/Sun) -- China is making all-out efforts to locate the missing passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, almost two-thirds of them from China, as family members prepared to fly to Malaysia.
Forty-seven hours after the aircraft lost contact with ground control center, relatives of the passengers on board the missing flight who are settled in Hotel of Lido in Beijing, seems calmer than earlier Sunday.
Malaysia Airlines will help relatives of passengers on board its missing flight to fly from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur, said the airline's spokesman on Sunday.
As of 10 p.m., most of the relatives are applying passports and visas, however they are still overwhelmed by sadness.
An old man surnamed Li from the nearby Hebei Province, who has never been abroad, decided to go "see his kid for the last time".
However some are still hesitating about the trip. An old couple whose children were on the plane worried that the language barrier would not help them getting more useful information.
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.
Beijing police launched an emergency mechanism to make sure the relatives of passengers can get their passports within one hour.
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.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft left Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 0:41 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday and was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m.
Contact with the flight was lost along with its radar signal at 2:40 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday when it was flying over the Ho Chi Minh air traffic control area in Vietnam.
The flight was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese.
The whole country has joined the families of passengers on board the missing plane to pray for their safety.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Chinese embassies and consulates overseas to strengthen contact with departments of relevant countries and pay close attention to the search and rescue work.
All-out efforts must be made for any emergency treatment necessary in the aftermath of the incident, Xi said in his instruction.
The CAAC demanded its air traffic management office keep in touch with its Malaysian counterpart, and ordered Beijing Capital International Airport to comfort relatives and friends of the passengers on board the missing flight.
An emergency response team assembled by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) set out early Sunday from south China's Sanya Port in Hainan Province to the sea area where it is thought the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 might have crashed.
The largest patrol vessel in South China Sea "Haixun 31" departed from Sanya on Sunday afternoon and is scheduled to arrive at the site on Tuesday afternoon, carrying 50 rescuers and facilities such as a maritime helicopter and sonar systems.
Rescue vessel "South China Sea Rescue 101" is carrying 12 divers and salvagers, and will join another rescue vessel, "South China Sea Rescue 115," at the rescue site.
The latter ship is scheduled to arrive at the site on Monday afternoon, while "South China Sea Rescue 101" will get there on Tuesday afternoon, according to the MOT.
"South China Sea Rescue 101" is 109.7 meters long, with 6,200 tonnes of full load displacement.
Meanwhile, another rescue vessel, "Tai Shun Hai" of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company arrived at the possible site at 9 a.m. Sunday and started searching, according to the MOT.
Popping up mysteries
Two passengers were confirmed boarded the plane operated by the Malaysian Airlines with stolen passports, according to the international police agency Interpol.
China's Ministry of Public Security has decided to send a work team to Malaysia to investigate the case after the confirmation of Interpol and was made after a consultation with the Malaysian side that called for a joint investigation into the matter, said the ministry late Sunday.
"We will join the investigation. Communication with Malaysian civil aviation authorities is underway. We'll keep updating the latest news," according to Li Jun, deputy director of CAAC.
A large oil slick stretching 100 nautical miles was found near Tok Bali, Kelantan Sunday by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and chemical test has been done with no result has been published.
Late Sunday afternoon, Vietnam sent a boat to investigate a "strange object" spotted by a Singapore search plane near Vietnam's Tho Chu Island.
The objects were suspected to come from the Boeing 777 aircraft, Vietnamese press reported earlier. But Rahman has ruled out the possibility that they were from the ill-fated jet.
Rescue work remains challenging as there is no exact location of the possible crash site.
The searching vessel has detected no clues yet after a 9-hour-search covering about 145 nautical miles, according to the MOT.
Another Chinese coast guard vessel also reported no findings of the missing plane and is expanding searching area with technical aids.
The airline has told the passengers' families to "prepare for the worst result."
But the public has continued looking for good news.
"To all 239 lives and 154 compatriots, how are you? The rescue continues and we are still waiting, please do not give up. We know that you are delayed but we don't believe in your not coming home. MH370, China is ready for pickup, to welcome you home." a post on China's twitter-like Sina Weibo read.