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Malaysia Airlines CEO says must accept reality, offers $5,000 compensation to relatives

world Updated: Mar 25, 2014 16:43 IST
Hindustan Times
Ceo malaysian airlines

The chief executive of Malaysian Airlines on Tuesday said the disappearance of Flight MH370 is the greatest challenge that his team has faced and added the crash was a reality "we must face and we must accept".

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed on Monday that the Malaysia Airlines' flight, which vanished more than two weeks ago while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, had crashed thousands of miles away in the southern Indian Ocean citing groundbreaking satellite-data analysis by British firm Inmarsat.

"This has been an unprecedented event, followed by an unprecedented response. We will continue to support the work of the investigating authorities in the southern Indian Ocean," Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told reporters.

In a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Yahya outlined steps the airline has and is taking for the families, including payments made to them as well as travel accommodations that have been made for them.

The airline has offered family members $5,000 for each passenger aboard Flight 370 and additional payments as the search continues.

"Our first priority to provide comfort and assistance to families. No amount of compensation or consolation will make up for loss," he said.

Malaysia Airlines has come under fire after it delivered a text message to families on Monday that stated, in part, "MH370 has been lost and that none of those onboard survived."

Responding to the criticism, Yahya said he wanted to make sure the victims' families heard about the news before anyone else.

"Our sole and only motivation last night was to ensure that in the incredibly short amount of time available to us, the families heard the tragic news before the world did," he said.

Bad weather and rough seas on Tuesday forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner that officials are now sure crashed in the remote Indian Ocean with the loss of all 239 people on board.

Australian officials in another press conference said efforts to try to ID the debris in the Indian Ocean are unlikely to start again for "at least another 24 hours" adding when the weather gets better, more assets will help in the search of the missing jet.

"We're not searching for a needle in a haystack. We're still trying to define where the haystack is," said Mark Binskin, vice chief of the Australian defence force.

Australian defence minister David Johnston told reporters in Bullsbrook, Australia no evidence of debris from Flight MH370 has been identified or recovered in the search.

"It's a massive logistical enterprise," Johnston said, and an "amazing example of international cooperation."