Asia-Pacific News

Distraught relatives in missing MH370 increasingly frustrated

Written Katie Holliday I Reporting by Eunice Yoon
MH370 families angry at Malaysia Airlines
MH370 families angry at Malaysia Airlines

As the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 enters its fourth day, the distraught relatives of flight passengers are growing increasingly frustrated with both Malaysian and Chinese government officials.

Flight MH370 disappeared early on Saturday, about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing; no trace of the missing plane has been found yet. Nearly two-thirds of the 239 people aboard the flight were from China.

Over the past few days, Malaysia Airlines' staff has been aiding distraught relatives with their passport and visa applications to ensure they are able to fly to Kuala Lumpur, where they will be closer to the ongoing investigation.

(Read More: MH370 still without trace as search efforts double)

The authorities initially said twelve relatives boarded a flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur at 2:02am on Tuesday morning, which arrived at 07.54am, but later said just nine relatives flew over. While around 60 visas were issued the rest of the relatives refused to travel saying they were not confident that Malaysia Airlines would look after them properly.

The vast majority of the relatives that CNBC spoke with said they were concerned about being taken to separate hotels once they reached Kuala Lumpur, as they wanted to stay together. They lacked confidence in Malaysia Airlines because they feel the airline has done a poor job updating them on the situation.

An elderly woman with the surname Cao told CNBC on Monday: "Nobody wants to be in Malaysia. We don't speak the language there, why be there? At least we are in our own country and we can get more information here."

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines is using a hotel in Beijing as a makeshift crisis center as relatives of the missing passengers await updates on flight MH370.

(Read More: Malaysian authorities step up hunt for missing plane MH370)

Relatives of victims from the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane leave after applying for their Chinese passports to be ready for travel to Kuala Lumpur to be closer to the rescue operations, in Beijing on March 10, 2014.
Goh Chai Hin | AFP | Getty Images

Frustration grows at briefings

Malaysia Airlines held a briefing for families on Monday morning. Relatives threw at least three water bottles at airline staff during the meeting as frustration over a lack of developments led to elevated tempers.

Officials from the Chinese government's civil aviation, transport departments and foreign ministry held a separate briefing for relatives in the Beijing hotel on Monday.

(Read More: In pictures: Latest on missing Malaysian jet)

The officials tried to calm the relatives, noting they were doing their best to help ongoing search efforts, but frustrated relatives challenged the authorities and called out questions. The officials left quickly.

Following the Chinese government's briefing a man who was not willing to reveal his name said: "I'm not happy with them. They just said useless clichés but when we asked questions they told us they were tight on time and left."

On Monday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Malaysian authorities needed to step up their efforts in finding the missing plane. He also confirmed that no Chinese passports were stolen, following news that two of the passengers on flight MH370 used stolen passports to travel.

(Watch This: What is the significance of stolen passports for MH370?)

Not all the relatives were heavily criticial of Malaysia Airlines, however.

One relative told CNBC that he thought the families had unrealistic expectations since the aircraft was still missing.

By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie