Too painful to bear: A relative of Chinese passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines MH370, crying after being told the latest update in Beijing. — AFP
BANGI: There was wailing and tears flowed freely at a hotel here as soon as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on live television that Flight MH370 has been lost in the southern Indian Ocean.
The news was too much to bear for the next-of-kin who had travelled from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur.
Their gait was weak and their cheeks were wet and flushed, while a grief-stricken middle-aged woman broke down openly at the main lobby of the hotel.
“I don’t believe this! I want my son back,” she wailed as she attempted to shove a Malaysia Airlines employee.
Her loud wails rang through the high ceiling of the lobby.
The woman was later carried away by two relatives into an elevator leading to the guest rooms.
Tight security was deployed at the hotel and security guards had quickly shut all glass doors at the hotel entrance to protect the privacy of the grieving families.
In BEIJING, wails of grieving relatives could be heard even outside the ballroom of the Metropark Lido hotel, where they were watching Najib’s announcement.
Hysterical crying and smashing of chairs could also be heard after the families heard the grave news.
One woman collapsed and fell on her knees, crying “My son! My son!”
When the doors open, devastated family members hurried out.
Several relatives were weak-kneed and had to be supported by others as they tried to evade the multitude of cameras.
“You still want to take our photos? We have lost our loved ones!” yelled a family member.
Another elderly woman lost control of her emotions; she cried, “My son! My daughter-in-law! My grandchild! My family!”
Security guards had to ask the media to leave the room at the hotel.
Three medical teams were sent in and first-aid officers wheeled stretchers into the room. At least one elderly man was carried out of the conference room on one of them, his faced covered by a jacket. Minutes later a middle-aged woman was taken out on another stretcher, her face ashen and her blank expressionless eyes seemingly staring off into a distance.
Earlier, at around 9pm, MAS sent text messages to relatives informing them in advance of Najib’s announcement.