MH370 families ‘starved of information’ unite to call for answers to world’s greatest aviation mystery

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THE relatives of those on board missing flight MH370 have joined forces to get to the bottom of the mystery which has baffled the world’s top aviation experts.

They meet every month in Kuala Lumpur to support each other and try to keep missing Malaysian Airlines flight in the public eye.

 Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of in-flight supervisor Patrick Francis Gomes, displays debris believed to belong to MH370

Reuters

Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of in-flight supervisor Patrick Francis Gomes, displays debris believed to belong to MH370

Their aim is to get to the bottom of the world’s greatest aviation puzzle – which has sparked dozens of conspiracy theories – adding they feel “starved of real information.”

The support group’s relatives were among the 239 people on board the Boeing 777 when it vanished en-route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Scraps of aircraft debris have washed up on the east African coastline, but two underwater searches in the southern Indian Ocean proved fruitless, leaving few clues as to what happened.

Struggling to resume their lives, the families have come to lean on each other for support, said Jacquita Gonzales, whose husband Patrick Gomes was MH370’s inflight supervisor.

“It goes beyond a group waiting for answers,” said Gonzales, a 57-year-old kindergarten teacher who often hosts the group at her home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

“It has become a family as well, an extended family,” she told Reuters.

NO FAREWELLS

For five years the group has campaigned to keep public attention on MH370 and help each other cope with their grief and try to live normal lives by returning to work, raising children and, in Gonzales’ case, battle illness.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 for the second time in her life, but it has since gone into remission.

“When I first had cancer, I had my husband for support,” she said.

“This second time, no. But I had a lot of family members around, my friends, my children, and now my MH370 families… so that kept us going.”

In her living room hangs a painting of a blue-and-yellow field – a gift from Calvin Shim, another MH370 next-of-kin, to help her stay calm while recovering from surgery.

MH370 – WHAT HAPPENED?

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur and was heading to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Passengers included Chinese calligraphers, a couple on their way home to their young sons after a long-delayed honeymoon and a construction worker who hadn’t been home in a year.

But at 12.14am on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines lost contact with MH370 close to Phuket island in the Strait of Malacca.

Before that, Malaysian authorities believe the last words heard from the plane, from either the pilot or co-pilot, was “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.

Satellite “pings” from the aircraft suggest it continued flying for around seven hours when the fuel would have run out.

Experts have calculated the most likely crash site around 1,000 miles west of Perth, Australia.

But a huge search of the seabed failed to find any wreckage – and there are a number of alternative theories as to its fate.

Shim, a father of two, said the group helped him to adjust to life as a single parent. His wife, Christine Tan, was a member of the MH370 crew.

“The other families know exactly how each of us feel,” he said during a meeting at Gonzales’ home.

“Emotionally, that’s been a good support and help to us, especially since the plane has not been found,” he added.

Not knowing what happened in the aircraft’s final moments has made closure “impossible”, Gonzales said.

“When friends tell me that their spouses have passed away, I get very jealous because they have closure,” she said.

“They’ve said goodbye. But for us, we’ve not said goodbye at all.”

In July 2018, the Malaysian government’s report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 says all the evidence points to the fact the plane was deliberately flown out into the Indian Ocean.

According to the report, the only way MH370 would have been able to deviate from its flight path was if it was under deliberate, manual control.

But there were still more questions than answers after the report was handed down – and the conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance are legion.

Malaysia’s new government has said the search could be resumed but only if new and compelling evidence comes to light.

 Daughter Michelle Gomes (L) and wife Jacquita Gonzales of in-flight supervisor Patrick Francis Gomes

Reuters

Daughter Michelle Gomes (L) and wife Jacquita Gonzales of in-flight supervisor Patrick Francis Gomes
 Grace Subathirai Nathan, daughter of passenger Anne Daisy, shows a piece of debris believed to be from flight MH370

AFP or licensors

Grace Subathirai Nathan, daughter of passenger Anne Daisy, shows a piece of debris believed to be from flight MH370
 Flight MH370 was lost with 239 people on board

Alamy

Flight MH370 was lost with 239 people on board
 A woman holds a sign of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight

Reuters

A woman holds a sign of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight
 The passenger took off from Kuala Lumpur and was heading to Beijing
The passenger took off from Kuala Lumpur and was heading to Beijing
Families reveal new debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370





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