MH370 victims’ families desperate for answers 5 years on

2019-02-27 08:49:40

The sister of a New Zealand man on lost flight MH370 says, as another anniversary looms, she still wants answers as to why the plane went missing.

South Island reporter Logan Church and camera operator Simon Rogers filed this report:


The Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared without a trace on 8 March 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

An international search effort costing $200 million turned up no meaningful discoveries, making it one of the biggest aviation mysteries of all time.

It was carrying 239 people - including former Christchurch man Paul Weeks - one of two New Zealanders on board. Mr Weeks, a mechanical engineer moved to Perth with his family after the Canterbury earthquakes.

He was on the flight so he could take a major role with a mining company in Mongolia.

Ahead of the five-year anniversary of the plane's disappearance, Mr Weeks' sister, Sara Norton, told Checkpoint her family is still waiting for answers.

"Initially when the information was so conflicting, nothing was firm, we thought maybe it had landed, or perhaps been hijacked, maybe it had crashed somewhere else ... it's nearly five years, did it crash, did it land, was it hijacked, was it the pilot, is everyone somewhere else .... question, question, question - we don't know."

Ms Norton said she had not heard from the Malaysian government in years, which she said was unacceptable.

They had been difficult to deal with "the whole way through", she said.

"... you would imagine, given what had happened, they'd want to be friendly and polite to people grieving and they certainly weren't."

She said it had also been disappointing that neither the New Zealand Government nor the NZ Defence Force had ever been in touch with the family.

Her brother had served in the Army as a mechanic for about seven years.

"You would think someone would have wanted to say something at the time but no," Ms Norton said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Checkpoint in a statement that they had provided consular assistance to Mr Weeks' family at the time, while the Defence Force said an Orion and 40 personnel had spent 50 days searching for the missing plane.

Ms Norton said Paul's widow, Danica, would travel with other families to Kuala Lumpur to mark the anniversary, try and get some fresh information from the Malaysian government and press the case for reopening the search.

She said her family needed closure.

"If it can happen to that plane, and that plane can suddenly go missing and noone knows where it is and that's it, end of plane, end of 230-odd people, what's to stop it happening to another plane...?"

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