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article image'Face reality:' Malaysia sets funerals for missing jet passengers

By Nora Meszaros     May 3, 2014 in World
Sydney - The first memorial service for passengers on board the missing Malaysian Airlines jet is scheduled to be held tomorrow in Australia, nearly two months after the disappearance and apparent crash of the flight.
Malaysian officials urged the relatives of passengers presumed to be dead to “face reality” and leave support centres, Reuters reports. On Friday, Malaysia’s deputy foreign minister Hamzah Zainudin told a news conference that “it was time for relatives to be realistic” about the 239 missing people on flight MH370.
Zainudin told the press that it was time to stop looking for the answer to what happened. “It’s about time for us to actually accept the reality that the family members should go back and wait for the answer in their hometowns,” he said Friday.
Two of six Australian passengers from the missing Boeing 777 jet will be the first to undergo a funeral-like memorial service. Rod Burrows, 59, and his wife Mary, 54, will be remembered in Brisbane, Australia tomorrow at a closed memorial service held by their family and friends, The Telegraph reports.
On March 26, the couple’s son, Jayden Burrow, told The Telegraph that the disappearance of so many passengers was a terrible tragedy.
“We are heartbroken this stage of their life has been cut short,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines announced earlier this week that it will close down the assistance centres for the families of missing passengers and crew in both Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, according to The Telegraph.
Although several search initiatives have opted out of continuing to try locating the jet and its passengers, Australia and Malaysia said this week they intend to keep looking. According to Reuters, search and rescue teams from both countries will undertake a sonar search of 60, 000 square kilometres (24, 000 square miles) of seabed. The new plan could take longer than eight months and cost $55.6 million, Reuters reports.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was Beijing-bound on March 8 with 239 people on board when it “mysteriously vanished” an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Business Line reports.
The missing jet continues to puzzle aviation authorities, who have not succeeded in locating any debris from the aircraft.
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