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Malaysia, Flight 370 relatives talk financial help

  • In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is launched from the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield in to the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

    In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is launched from the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield in to the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

  • In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is craned over the side of Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield before launching the vehicle into the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

    In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is craned over the side of Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield before launching the vehicle into the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

  • In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, Commander James Lybrand, Mission Commander ADV Ocean Shield, left, and Chris "Sharkie" Moore, Phoenix team leader, watch the launching of the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis as it is craned over the side of Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield before launching it in to the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

    In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, Commander James Lybrand, Mission Commander ADV Ocean Shield, left, and Chris "Sharkie" Moore, Phoenix team leader, watch the launching of the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis as it is craned over the side of Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield before launching it in to the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

  • In this Saturday, April 19, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is lowered onto the deck of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield after a search mission for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, in the southern Indian Ocean.  Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

    In this Saturday, April 19, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is lowered onto the deck of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield after a search mission for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, in the southern Indian Ocean. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

  • In this map provided on Sunday, April 20, 2014, by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre details are presented in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Joint Agency Coordination Centre) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

    In this map provided on Sunday, April 20, 2014, by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre details are presented in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Joint Agency Coordination Centre) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

  • In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is launched from the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield in to the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
  • In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is craned over the side of Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield before launching the vehicle into the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
  • In this Thursday, April 17, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, Commander James Lybrand, Mission Commander ADV Ocean Shield, left, and Chris "Sharkie" Moore, Phoenix team leader, watch the launching of the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis as it is craned over the side of Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield before launching it in to the southern Indian Ocean in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
  • In this Saturday, April 19, 2014 photo provided by the Australian Defense Force the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis is lowered onto the deck of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield after a search mission for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, in the southern Indian Ocean.  Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Australian Defense Force, Bradley Darvill) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
  • In this map provided on Sunday, April 20, 2014, by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre details are presented in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continue to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. (AP Photo/Joint Agency Coordination Centre) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

A Malaysian official met yesterday with relatives of passengers who were aboard the missing jetliner and discussed ways of providing them with financial assistance, as an unmanned submarine continued its search for any signs of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainuddin met with the passengers’ relatives in Kuala Lumpur to talk about where to go next. Financial assistance was discussed and family members were urged to submit a plan for consideration. He declined to elaborate further, but said a fund could possibly be set up by the government or Malaysia Airlines.

The relatives, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the meeting, saying in a statement that until “at least a tiny bit of concrete evidence” that the plane crashed is found, authorities should not try to settle the case with final payoffs.

“No meaningful report on the progress of the investigation was given” at the meeting, the relatives said, adding that “not a single one” of their questions was answered.

“We realize this is an excruciating time for the families of those on board,” said Zainuddin, who heads a committee overseeing the needs of the next of kin. “No words can describe the pain they must be going through. We understand the desperate need for information on behalf of the families and those watching around the world.”

He added that he would soon visit Beijing to shore up bilateral relations between Malaysia and China. Two-thirds of the missing plane’s 227 passengers were Chinese, and many of their family members have been angered by Malaysia’s handling of the investigation, with some accusing the government of lying, incompetence or participating in an outright cover-up.

After nearly a week of sweeping the bottom of the ocean with sonar, the unmanned sub began its eighth mission yesterday. The yellow device has already covered about half of its focused search area, but has yet to uncover any clues that could shed light on the mysterious disappearance of the plane more than six weeks ago.

The U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 has journeyed beyond its recommended depth of 2.8 miles to comb the silt-covered seabed off the coast of western Australia. Its search area forms a 6-mile radius around the location of an underwater signal that was believed to have come from the aircraft’s black boxes. The search center said the sonar scan of the seafloor in that area was expected to be completed sometime next week.

On Saturday, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein stressed the importance of the weekend submarine missions in the southern Indian Ocean, but stressed that even if no debris is recovered, the scope of the search may be broadened or other assets may be used.

Meanwhile yesterday, up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continued to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777, which disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Radar and satellite data show the jet mysteriously veered far off course for unknown reasons and would have run out of fuel in the remote section of the southern Indian Ocean where the search has been focused. Not one piece of debris has been recovered since the massive multinational hunt began.

There have been numerous leads, but all have turned out to be false. The most promising development came when four underwater signals were detected April 5 and 8. The sounds were consistent with pings that would have been emanating from the plane’s flight data and cockpit recorders’ beacons before their batteries died.

The underwater operation is being complicated by the depth of the largely unexplored silt-covered sea floor. The unmanned submarine has gone beyond its recommended depth, according to the U.S. 7th Fleet. That could risk the equipment, but it is being closely monitored.

The search coordination center has said the hunt for floating debris on the surface will continue for at least the next few days, even though the Australian head of the search effort, Angus Houston, had earlier said it was expected to end sooner.

Yesterday, the visual surface search was to cover an estimated 18,729 square miles of sea.

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