KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Groups representing the families of the passengers and crew aboard Flight MH370 issued a letter of thanks to the governments and teams involved in the search for the missing plane, but the Malaysian government was conspicuously absent from the list.
Voice 370 and MH370 Family Association, in a joint letter addressed to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief coordinator Angus Houston, said they deeply appreciated the efforts by all involved in finding the elusive aircraft.
“This incident has no such precedent through the history of aviation, and we would like to highlight the progress made toward understanding the events unfolding in the morning of March 8 and fate of the plane in the face of innumerable obstacles and complications,” the letter read.
“It is here that we would like to applaud the relentless efforts of the men and women of the search crews directly involved in the search operations for MH370 and those involved in the analysis of the ﬂight path of the plane; this letter is a medium insufficient to convey the depth of the gratitude felt by all affected families toward your endeavours.”
The families thanked Abbott and Houston for “their gracious assumption of responsibility for the coordination of the search” in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have ended its flight.
“Their calm and able handling of the situation has assured the families that this responsibility has been passed to capable hands,” said the letter.
The families also made a special mention of the “considerable assistance” extended by the governments of China and the US, describing the commitment and scale of their contributions as “commendable”.
“As the search for the ﬂight begins another transition into a new phase, we hope that the unstinting efforts by all parties involved in the search and rescue operation will be able to yield an answer to the enigma surrounding the fate of our loved ones for the safety of the ﬂying public and the relatives of those on board,” they added.
Families of the passengers and crew of the missing Boeing 777 have been largely unhappy with Malaysia’s handling of the crisis, which has gone on for over three months now.
The families of the crew had accused Putrajaya and plane owner Malaysia Airlines of neglecting them.
Some families of the passengers have even started a crowd-funding campaign, dubbed ‘Reward MH370: The Search for the Truth’, to raise USD4 million (RM16.1 million) to run their own search for the missing aircraft.
MH370 disappeared after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8 with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.
After two months of intensive search, the hunt was scaled back to an undersea operation in the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia that is expected to take between eight to 12 months.