Time to move on with life, DCA tells MH370 next-of-kin

Relatives of crewmembers and passengers of missing flight MH370 are seen in the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) hall where a press conference was scheduled, in Putrajaya, January 29, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Relatives of crewmembers and passengers of missing flight MH370 are seen in the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) hall where a press conference was scheduled, in Putrajaya, January 29, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has asked families of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370’s victims to resume their normal lives today, after officially declaring those onboard the plane dead.

Despite that, Putrajaya assured the next of kin that the search for the missing flight will remain a priority together with the Chinese and Australian governments, to give closure to the aviation disaster.

“The Government of Malaysia acknowledges that this declaration of the MH370 accident will be very difficult for the families and loved ones of the 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard to consider, much less accept. Thirteen nations have also lost sons and daughters to this tragedy.

“It is nonetheless important that families try to resume normal lives, or as normal a life as may be possible after this sudden loss,” DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement.

“Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process,” the statement added.

The DCA also said the “Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370” comprising accredited representatives from seven countries is still currently conducting its safety investigation.

Meanwhile the Royal Malaysia Police is also continuing its criminal investigation, the DCA said, though it admitted that the lack of physical evidence have limited both probes.

“Therefore at this juncture there is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident. An interim statement detailing the progress of the safety investigation is expected to be released on or around the one year anniversary of the accident,” Azharuddin said.

Malaysia officially declared missing MAS Flight MH370 as an “accident” and its passengers and crew members deceased today, just under 11 months after the ill-fated jetliner’s mysterious disappearance on March 8, 2014.

The declaration was made by the DCA today pursuant to International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Chicago Convention, allowing the family members of the 239 passengers onboard to proceed with their claim for damages.

Yesterday, Voice370 – the self-styled support group for families of those on board the missing plane – addressed rumours that the Malaysian authorities’ would make a major announcement about the flight, saying they will not accept such declarations from Putrajaya without physical evidence of the plane’s fate.

On March 24 last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak confirmed that the missing MAS jetliner MH370 “ended” its journey in the southern Indian Ocean, but stopped short of saying that the Boeing 777 aircraft had crashed into the vast ocean.

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