Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370: Missing Passengers' Families Go on Hunger Strike in Protest of 'Lies'; NZ Orion Search Continues

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By Reissa Su | March 19, 2014 7:31 PM EST

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion plane was to assist in finding the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and this is currently relocated in Australia. New Zealand Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman said the Air Force has responded to Malaysia's request for assistance.

REUTERS/Samsul Said
A woman writes a message on a board dedicated to passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, in Petaling Jaya March 19, 2014.

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Four Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) aircraft had already begun looking for the missing Boeing 777 jet in a 600,000-square kilometer patch of ocean some 3,200 kilometers southwest of Perth, which was believed to be the possible location for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. New Zealand has only a small window of searching in each flight. Orion is expected to be involved in the search for 2 weeks.

The Orion has relocated to the Royal Australian Air Force base in Pearce, north of Perth. New Zealand's plane has will join Australian, Chinese and the U.S. aircraft in searching for the lost Malaysia Airlines plane believed to be in the southern corridor area.

Coleman said New Zealand is fully committed to play a role in the international search. Ten days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 lost all communications with ground control, angry families of Chinese passengers threaten to go on a hunger strike unless the Malaysian authorities are willing to tell them the truth about their missing loved-ones.

Several reports and theories have been published about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Hundreds of family members aboard the lost plane continue to await their fate inside a Beijing hotel.

Majority or around two-thirds of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are Chinese. Chinese representatives sent by Malaysia Airlines were on the receiving end of the families' frustration and anger when they met on March 18. The families demanded to see and talk to the Malaysian ambassador.

One middle-aged female family member said she all wanted the truth about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. She remarked the passengers should have been victims of politics.

One man accused the Malaysian authorities and Chinese airline representatives of "always going back and forth" and said they were "always tricking us, telling us lies."

China has called on Malaysia to improve their efforts in the search for Malaysia Airlines and seriously respond to the requests of the Chinese passengers. The Chinese government also urged Malaysian authorities to keep the families updated with new information.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said China has long demanded that Malaysia Airlines and government officials address the "reasonable" requests of families.

The Chinese representative sent by the airline apologized for the criticisms and mistakes saying he has no access to some information requested. As the representatives left the hotel, the families shouted and chanted slogans using their fists.

The families said they were going on hunger strike. It was not clear how many were joining the protest or when it had begun.


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(Photo: REUTERS/Samsul Said / )
A woman writes a message on a board dedicated to passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, in Petaling Jaya March 19, 2014.
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