Families Hold Airline Workers Hostage Over Flight 370

Angry relatives stage sit-in protest at Malaysian embassy in Beijing

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 25, 2014 4:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – A briefing about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 became a hostage crisis yesterday when Chinese family members refused to let airline workers leave a Beijing hotel, NBC News reports. About 200 relatives of missing jet passengers took 10 workers hostage for nearly 11 hours at the Lido Hotel, expressing their "dissatisfaction" over what they heard, according to a statement from the airline. Reports differ on what angered them: A Kuala Lumpur-based website, Malaysian Digest, says they lost it when told that debris washed up on an Australian shore was not from flight 370. According to Australia's News Network, they grew heated when a Malaysian official didn't attend the briefing.

Either way, airline officials were kept at the hotel while dozens of family members went to the Malaysian embassy and protested. The hostages went free just before 2am, and the only damage was a kick to the knee received by Malaysian Airlines' security supervisor. Chinese families have been complaining bitterly for weeks about the airline's handling of the search, which they call incompetent and secretive. In an odd development, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told CNN yesterday that he just learned about a plane picked up by his country's radar on the night flight 370 disappeared. It "behaved like a commercial airline," he said, so no military planes went up to investigate.

Relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines MH370 push through a police line to march to the Malaysian embassy from a hotel in Beijing, China, Thursday, April 24, 2014.
Relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines MH370 push through a police line to march to the Malaysian embassy from a hotel in Beijing, China, Thursday, April 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A relative of Chinese passengers on Malaysia Airlines MH370 speaks to media as he and others wait for embassy staff to meet them outside the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, China Friday, April 25, 2014.
A relative of Chinese passengers on Malaysia Airlines MH370 speaks to media as he and others wait for embassy staff to meet them outside the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, China Friday, April 25, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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