KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN, March 29, 2014) — It sounds like a mixed message. Earlier this week, loved ones of those aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 heard this: “All lives are lost.”
But Saturday, a Malaysian official met with relatives and then told reporters he had not closed the door on the hope of relatives that survivors may exist among the 239 people aboard the Boeing 777-200 ER that went missing March 8.
“Even hoping against hope, no matter how remote, of course, we are praying and we will continue our search for the possible survivors,” said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s acting transportation minister. “More than that, I told the families I cannot give them false hope. The best we can do is pray and that we must be sensitive to them that, as long as there is even a remote chance of a survivor, we will pray and do whatever it takes.”
Eight planes and a number of ships scoured some 97,000 square miles (252,000 square kilometers) of water Saturday hundreds of miles off Australia for signs of the plane, with aircraft reporting sightings of objects similar to those reported Friday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.
Two vessels — one of them a Chinese warship — retrieved objects, “but so far no objects confirmed to be related to MH370 have been recovered,” the authority said.
Crew members aboard a Chinese plane dropped buoys to mark three suspected debris sites, China’s state-run CCTV reported.
“After entering the search area, the airlifter flew for about 20 minutes,” crew member Wang Zhenwu told the television network. “We found an L-shaped debris in orange color right below the plane’s right wing. Then within around three minutes, we found a stripe-shaped object. We immediately reported our findings to the captain.”
The captain, Liu Jun, said buoys containing dye were dropped on each of the suspected sites, according to CCTV.
The hunt was to resume Sunday morning.
As the search continued, Hishammuddin met with family members, who have listened keenly as data analyses and estimates of Flight 370’s whereabouts have changed.