BEIJING, Nov 28, (AP): A Beijing court began hearings compensations Monday morning for Chinese relatives of people who died on a Malaysian airlines plane that disappeared in 2014 on a flight to Beijing, a case that remains shrouded in mystery after almost a decade .
Security was tight around the Chinese capital’s main Chaoyang District Intermediary Court and no detailed information was immediately available. Police checked the identities of journalists on site and sequestered them in a cordoned-off area. Reporters were able to see relatives enter the court but were unable to speak with them before the hearing began.
There was no immediate comment from the court, and China’s Foreign Ministry referred questions on the matter to legal authorities.
“The Chinese government pays high attention to the follow-up actions of MH370. We hope the relevant parties will maintain close communication and handle it properly,” ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing on Monday.
Various have emerged about the fate of the plane, including mechanical failure, a hijacking attempt, or a deliberate effort to scuttle it by those in the cockpit, but scant evidence has been found to show theories why the plane diverted from its original route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The Boeing 777 with 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard is believed to have plunged into the Southern Ocean south of India but months of intense searching found no sign of where it went down and only fragments of the plane have washed up on beaches in the area.
Among the passengers onboard, 153 or 154 by differing accounts were citizens of China, causing the disaster to resonate especially in Beijing, where daily briefings and vigils were held for those missing. Some relatives refused to believe the plane had disappeared, believing it had been taken to an unknown site and that their loved ones remained alive, and refused to accept relatively small compassionate payments from the airline.
Details of the lawsuit remain cloudy but appear to be based on the contention that the airline failed to take measures to locate the plane after it disappeared from air traffic control about 38 minutes after taking off over the South China Sea on the night of March 8, 2014 .
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