The relatives of those who went missing on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have said that they believe the truth of what really happened to that flight is being hidden from the public.
Hours after the announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that a part of the aircraft wing had been found, relatives accused authorities of faking the debris in order to silence the truth.
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Liu Kun, whose younger brother was on board the flight told Reuters: “Find the people for us. We suspect that the airplane wreckage could be faked.
“Parts previously used and exchanged in maintenance could be thrown down there, but the people right now cannot be found. I don’t believe any information the Malaysian government provides.”
Zhang Meiling, whose daughter and son-in-law were on the plane added: “What does such a tiny piece (of debris) mean regarding a 230-tonne plane?
“Why are they trying to fool us? … To make us take the compensation money? (We) will definitely not accept it.”
Without the rest of the aircraft and with all the bodies still missing, many relatives say they are unable to reach closure on the tragedy.
“The finding of debris does not mean the finding of our next of kin,” Jiang Hui, whose mother was on board, told the Associated Press.
In Kuala Lumpur, Melanie Antonio – whose husband was a flight attendant on Flight 370, said: “I’m numb, I’m not sad.
“It’s just a flaperon, it doesn’t prove anything. We still need the wreckage to prove. I just want anything that can tell me my hubby is gone.”
Jacquita Gomes, also the wife of a flight attendant, echoed that sentiment. “If it’s not too much to ask, I still want the remains of my husband.”
While confirming ocean-borne debris from the plane is an important threshold for many relatives, it will be difficult for some to fully come to terms with the disaster without seeing the body of their loved one, said Nancy Smyth, a sociologist at University of Buffalo who focuses on psychological trauma.
The finding of the wing piece “is certainly a step toward closure,” Smyth said, adding “it is important not to think of closure as a check box, but more of a journey and process for people with a lot of layers.
“So much of our grieving process involves physicality, such as seeing the body, and that’s not present here, which makes it very difficult for the families to gain closure,” Smyth said.
And that closure was diluted furthermore by word from Paris, where Deputy Prosecutor Serge Mackowiak said the “very strong conjectures” that the wing part was from the missing Boeing 777 still needed to be “confirmed by complementary analysis” that would begin later on Thursday.
It was unclear whether the mix-up was a result of miscommunication between the two countries, differing notions of the burden of proof or whether Malaysian officials were overeager to send out some definitive signal for relatives of the missing.