“In our hearts and in our minds we still want them to come back. Everything is still in the present tense.” – Jacquita Gonzales
SUBANG JAYA, May 30 — Jacquita Gonzales is feeling a familiar cold dread curling in the pit of her stomach today, three months after her flight attendant husband, Patrick Gomes vanished seemingly into thin air along with 238 others aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Yesterday, Australian authorities confirmed that the missing Beijing-bound Boeing 777 plane which governments believe to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8, was not in the area where searchers have been looking.
In the latest update, Malaysia Airlines System Employees’ Union (Maseu) has advised the national carrier to “put aside” the world’s biggest aviation mystery and focus on restoring its blighted image and waning fortune.
“We have not found the plane, we have not found our loved ones. Find the plane and my husband first, then push it aside,” a teary-eyed Gonzales told a news conference here organised by the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam).
“It’s March 8 all over again, and I don’t like it at all,” she added.
Yesterday, Maseu executive secretary Mohd Jabbarullah Abd Kadir suggested that the national carrier move forward and set up a dedicated body to deal with the ongoing search for the missing jetliner.
He said the airline had already been struggling to reverse its losses even before flight MH370 dropped out of radar detection in the pre-dawn hours of March 8, and it is now time for MAS to focus its efforts on improving its financial position.
“During MH370, we kept quiet, we wanted to let the government handle (it) first. Now I think it has entered a new phase, MAS has to put aside MH370, a body has to coordinate (it), but day to day operations, we have to go on. If not, how to correct the image?” he said at a news conference.
Gonzales today said it was insensitive of Maseu to have made such a suggestion, especially since the families of all the 12 crew and 227 passengers on board still have no idea what happened to their loved ones.
“There are 239 human beings with families all over the world. You don’t put them aside like that.
“Don’t tell MAS to put us aside, it’s not right. We don’t want to be a yo-yo, going up and down, up and down… no way,” the 52-year-old said, seething with anger.
Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said Maseu’s suggestion was uncalled for and had nothing to do with the situation at hand.
“Maseu has not even called the families until today. They claimed that they will help the families, but that is not the case.
“Whatever it is, it is MAS’s responsibility to help all the families regardless of their financial situation,” he said.
Ismail stressed that Nufam will continue to do its part and help the families of the 10 flight attendants aboard the missing plane, including raising funds starting with a charity dinner this June 7 at Empire Hotel here.
Nufam is also finalising with the families the list of demands for assistance, which they will then present to the government and relevant authorities in a series of meetings they hope to have soon.
Search for Missing Jet Isn’t Likely to Resume for Another Three Months