On Wednesday, plane debris was discovered on Réunion Island, near Madagascar, and Twitter lit up with speculation that it might be the remains of MH370, the missing Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared in March 2014. After the flight's disappearance, MH370 victims' families were notoriously dissatisfied with the way the search for the plane was handled by the Malaysian government, and angry about the lack of information provided to them. On Wednesday, the same MH370 victims' families are reacting to the first possible breakthrough in the search for the missing plane.
Jacquita Gomes' husband Patrick was an in-flight supervisor on MH370, and she told the Associated Press she was torn over whether to believe the debris could have come from the plane.
One part of me, I want it to be true so I can put my husband Patrick to rest. It's been one year, I want him to be at peace. ... The other part of me, I don't want it to be true, so there is hope for good news.
Zhang Qian, 29, sounded unconvinced at the news, which would confirm the flight on which her husband Wang Houbin was on indeed crashed.
We still can't be sure. How could it have traveled so far? ... They've given us so much contradictory information so far, how can we believe them now?
Sara Weeks of New Zealand, whose brother was on the plane, said she still had many of the same questions when the news of the plane's disappearance first broke but was confident she'll get answered one day.
Where is it? Where is the rest of it? What happened to it? I believe we'll find out what happened to it one day, regardless. Somebody knows what happened.
One thing's for certain is that both officials and victims' relatives are determined to avoid jumping to any conclusions. A group comprised of relatives of many Chinese passengers released a statement insisting authorities first confirm the piece belonged to MH370 and then continue with their search efforts as well as the investigation into what caused the disappearance.
We do not want to hear guarantees of 99 percent likelihood from certain authorities. We need confirmation of 100 percent certainty. No matter where the debris is found, we care more about the whereabouts of our family members.
If the wing piece is indeed flight MH370, this could mark the beginning of the end of a long ordeal for these families. Shortly after the flight's disappearance, families of Chinese victims launched protests outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, and in April 2014, they began a hunger strike in protest of the lack of information. Eighteen days after the flight's disappearance, family members of the victims wrote an angry letter to the Malaysian government, condemning its handling of the event.
At 10 p.m. on March 25, the Malaysian prime minister sent a statement to the families of MH370 passengers without any direct evidence that MH370 crashed in the south Indian ocean and no people survived.
From March 8 when they announced that MH370 lost contact to today, 18 days have passed during which the Malaysian government and military constantly tried to delay, deceive the passengers’ families and cheat the whole world.
This shameless behavior not only fooled and hurt the families of the 154 passengers but also misguided and delayed rescue actions, wasting a large quantity of human resources and materials and lost valuable time for the rescue effort.
If the 154 passengers did lose their lives, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and military are the real executioners who killed them. We the families of those on board submit our strongest protest against them.
We will take every possible means to pursue the unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three.
Then, four days after the Malaysian prime minister said no people survived, a Malaysian official stated that there may be survivors among the 239 people lost aboard the flight, further confusing relatives. In January 2015, MH370 was officially declared an "accident," and the search for survivors ceased.
Wednesday's news may reopen old wounds for the families of MH370 victims, but if the debris does prove to be that of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, it may also provide some closure.
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