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MISSING MH370: Search for plane yields frustration, heartache

Publication Date : 21-03-2014


Ever since I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on March 11, I have been experiencing the most painful emotional rollercoaster.

There have been so many times that I thought we were close to finding the plane, or at least decent evidence of its fate. But these reports have always ended in disappointment.

On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that one of his country's satellites had spotted in the southern Indian Ocean two objects that are possible parts from the missing jet. Although Abbott emphasised that what the objects actually are needs to be confirmed, related messages flooded my social-network apps. Reporters are reviewing clues as to the reliability of this new information, including the size and shape of the objects. Some reporters hopped on a flight to Australia an hour after Abbott's statement.

On the Web, grave feelings are spreading among family members of the missing passengers, as the presence of floating debris would mean the aircraft crashed and probably resulted in the death of their loved ones.

It has been 13 days since the plane disappeared. The whole world is still waiting to learn how and why.

"This is it!" a reporter said before the news conference started. Sitting on the floor of the conference room where more than 100 reporters crowded in, I was exhausted and frustrated, but didn't want to expect too much. I didn't want to experience another letdown, as I had on Friday when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak gave a news conference.

Half an hour before Friday's press conference, more "news" appeared on the Web, saying the hijacking information was confirmed and that Najib was going to announce it. Every hint led to hijacking. The journalists in the conference room in Kuala Lumpur and their peers in their offices around the world were waiting with bated breath to absorb the news and prepare to dig into their next story of the "hijacked plane".

But it was again a false alarm. It was back to square one.

After learning of the new finding by Australia, I called one of my sources, who said one of the objects might be the wing of the missing Boeing 777. Listening to him on the phone, my heart beat faster. I couldn't imagine how hard it must be for family members to experience these ups and downs. For journalists who shed no light on the whereabouts of the plane, it was another disappointing and exhausting day, but for the families, it was a day of more heartache.


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