The family of Paul Weeks, who was aboard the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight, have criticised Malaysia’s handling of the information flow about the search operation.
His wife Danica Weeks found out in a text message from the airline that her husband had likely died when the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean and his sister, Sara, had to rely on a call from her mother to hear the news.
“The whole situation has been handled appallingly, incredibly insensitively,” Sara Weeks told Radio Live in New Zealand on Thursday.
“Everyone is angry about it.
“The Malaysian government, the airline, it’s just all been incredibly poor.
“Who’s to say they couldn’t have located the plane the day that it happened.”
A lot of information seemed to have been withheld and took a very long time to get through, she added.
Malaysian authorities confirmed two days ago that the plane carrying 239 passengers and crew, which disappeared almost three weeks ago, had been lost in the southern Indian Ocean thousands of kilometres west of Perth.
Sara Weeks said she was called at 3.30am by her mother, who was worried she might hear the news of her brother’s death from the media.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that where possible they had informed the almost 1000 family members either in person or by telephone, and only used text messages where necessary.
Paul Weeks, a 39-year-old mechanical engineer based in Perth, was travelling to Mongolia for his first shift in a fly-in-fly-out job.
Sara Weeks said it had been a nightmare not knowing and the family still didn’t have any closure as so much was unexplained.
“The not knowing is awful and, to be honest, we still don’t know. They haven’t given us any tangible evidence on how they know that plane is there,” she told More FM in New Zealand.
“To just … say everyone’s dead, that’s where the plane is, without offering up any sort of evidence, it has been really difficult.”
Malaysia Airlines will fly Sara Weeks to Perth to be with her sister-in-law Danica Weeks and her two sons Lincoln, 3, and Jack, 11 months.
Mr Weeks left his wedding ring and watch at home before setting off, Danica Weeks has said.
Sara Weeks hopes to meet some of the other families who’ve lost loved ones on the flight.
Danica and Paul Weeks, who was one of two New Zealanders on the plane, moved to Perth from Christchurch after the earthquakes of 2011.
The family of Ximin Wang, 50, of Auckland, have asked for privacy.
Meanwhile, satellite images have shown more than 120 pieces of potential debris from the flight in the southern India Ocean. To date, no wreckage has been recovered.