Malaysia Airlines MH370: Australia Offers Travel Assistance to Family Members, Perth Hotels Instructed to Accommodate Grieving Loved Ones
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 25, 2014 2:26 PM EST
Australia has committed to open its doors and facilitate all possible travel assistance to the family members of the 239 passengers of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines MH370 once wreckage of the missing plane has been found.
A family member of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cries on a bus before heading to the Malaysian embassy, outside Lido Hotel in Beijing, March 25, 2014. Bad weather and rough seas on Tuesday forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner that officials are now sure crashed in the remote Indian Ocean with the loss of all 239 people on board. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
On March 24, at exactly 16 days after the Boeing 777 went missing from aviation radar screens, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, based on new data provided by British firm Inmarsat, dashed all possible hopes for every family member of the missing passengers.
"I understand that the loved ones of those on that plane may well wish to come to Australia in the coming days and weeks," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters. "They will find a welcoming country that is more than willing to embrace them in this very difficult time."
Beleaguered Malaysia Airlines promised to extend all possible assistance to family members should they opt to travel to Australia.
"Arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area, and until that time we will continue to support the ongoing investigation," the airline firm said in a statement.
From search and rescue, the 16-day plight of what could have happened to Malaysia Airlines MH370 has turned into recovery and investigation.
The families, majority of came from China, "have had an emotional rollercoaster for two weeks," David Johnston, Australian defence minister, said. "My heart goes out to them."
"We will do everything we can to give them some semblance of closure, in what we now know is a very serious disaster."
Evan Hall, Tourism Council Western Australia chief executive, said he will instruct all hotels in Perth to accommodate as much as they can the grieving Malaysia Airlines MH370 family members.
"In a situation like this the industry would find a way to accommodate people," Mr Hall told Fairfax Media.
Mr Hall said he expects hundreds of family members arriving in Perth in the coming days so they could be closer to the base of the search and recovery.
The Malaysian prime minister, in his televised news conference, said the plane "ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean." Perth is the closest point to the plunge area.
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