BEIJING (AP) — About 100 Chinese families of passengers on the missing Malaysian airliner demanded Friday that Malaysian officials retract their statement that all aboard died, saying that without hard evidence they don’t want to start compensation claims.
Malaysia’s government formally declared still-missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 an accident on Thursday and said all those 239 people on board were presumed dead, paving the way for claims to begin.
Most of the victims’ families in China — where the majority of the passengers were from — still hold onto hope that their loved ones are alive.
“We don’t accept it. As a matter of fact, we are demanding the statement to be retracted,” Zhang Qian, whose husband was on the plane, said on Friday.
The relatives’ continued refusal to accept the authorities’ conclusion is understandable because they are going through “ambiguous loss,” where there has been no body or wreckage to confirm death, said Therese Rando, a clinical psychologist in Warwick, Rhodes Island, who has worked extensively in grief counseling.
“For any family member to make the move to presume death in the absence of confirmation is a huge step,” Rando explained in an email.
“They need to have eliminated other possibilities; to do otherwise would be tantamount to prematurely abandoning their loved one.”