Search for plane yields frus­tra­tion, heartache

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

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

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 em­pha­sized 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 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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