KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Tempers flared in Beijing today after Malaysia’s ambassador to China Datuk Iskandar Sarudin declined to share information given to authorities concerning the lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 carrying 138 Chinese passengers.
After five days of silence, relatives of the passengers aboard the missing jumbo jet finally lost patience after Iskandar refused to disclose what additional details the military had given authorities.
“#Malaysia official replies ‘it’s not the right time yet’ to question from #MH370 families if govt is hiding military data,” The Straits Times reported on Twitter hours earlier, as part of its “live” coverage of the two-hour meeting between Malaysian officials and some 400 family members of the Chinese passengers.
“Many #MH370 relatives gasped and some shouted but were yelled down by others. A representative of relatives said ‘明白’ meaning ‘understood’,” the Singapore daily tweeted in an additional post.
The meeting at Beijing’s Metropark Lido Hotel was reportedly the first since the aircraft seemingly vanished into thin air without sending any distress calls early last Saturday.
The relatives were reported to have requested the meeting to clear the air following conflicting reports of the fate of the Beijing-bound plane carrying 239 people, including 12 crew.
A massive multi-nation hunt for the Boeing 777 jet, last recorded off the coast of Kelantan at about 1.30am on March 8 as it was crossing over from Malaysian airspace into Vietnamese airspace, has found no trace of the plane or its contents.
Investigators, who have called the disappearance an “unprecedented mystery”, have expanded their search to Malaysia’s west coast and the Andaman Sea after military radar supposedly observed the aircraft turning back just before it blipped out of sight from all flight trackers.