Malaysia ‘not ready to accept this after MH370’

Updated - November 27, 2021 06:55 pm IST

Published - July 18, 2014 11:35 pm IST - BEIJING

News of the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine has been greeted with not just horror but disbelief in Malaysia, where distress at the loss was amplified by the sheer incredulity of facing a second air disaster in five months.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 239 people, vanished on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March. It has yet to be found despite a huge international search, which is still going on.

The crash of flight MH17 on Thursday had immediate and chilling echoes.

“I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation,” Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, said on Twitter.

The Defence Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein, urged people to keep calm, saying in a message that there was no confirmation the flight had been shot down.

The opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, said: “MH17 — ya Allah — another tragedy. Awaiting details. Pray for safety.” Nothing encapsulated the shock and heartbreak of the news more than the tweet from 18-year-old Malaysian Maira Elizabeth Nari, whose father, Andrew, was chief steward on MH370: “I am hoping it is not true. My God, save Your children. #PrayForMH17.”

With confirmation trickling through, she added about an hour later: “As the family member of the crew MH370, and on behalf of all them, we pray for MH17. Stay strong dear families.”

Another message that she retweeted — from Malaysia’s badminton world champion, Lee Chong Wei — expressed the bewilderment so many felt: “I don’t think we are ready to accept this so soon after the #MH370 tragedy.”

Malaysia Airlines had a strong safety record prior to MH370’s disappearance, although questions have been raised over whether it reacted quickly enough when Vietnamese air traffic controllers warned that the plane had not entered their airspace as scheduled.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2014

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