THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — China demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that a Malaysia Airlines jetliner had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, killing everyone on board, as gale-force winds and heavy rain on Tuesday halted the search for remains of the plane.
Monday night’s announcement unleashed a storm of sorrow and anger among the families of the plane’s 239 passengers and crew — two-thirds of them Chinese. Family members of the missing passengers have complained bitterly about a lack of reliable information and some say they are not being told the whole truth.
Nearly 100 relatives and their supporters marched to the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!”
Many wore white T-shirts that read “Let’s pray for MH370″ as they held banners and shouted, “Tell the truth! Return our relatives!”
There was a heavy police presence at the embassy. Police briefly scuffled with a group of relatives who tried to approach journalists.
Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia’s ambassador that China wanted to know exactly what led Najib to announce that the plane had been lost, a statement on the ministry’s website said.
Malaysia Airlines Chairman Mohammed Nor Mohammed Yusof told a news conference Tuesday that it may take time for further answers to become clear.
“This has been an unprecedented event requiring an unprecedented response,” he said. “The investigation still underway may yet prove to be even longer and more complex than it has been since March 8th.”
He added that even though no wreckage has been found, there was no doubt it had crashed.
“This by the evidence given to us, and by rational deduction, we could only arrive at that conclusion: That is, for Malaysia Airlines to declare that it has lost its plane, and by extension, the people in the plane,” he said.
The conclusions were based on a thorough analysis of the brief signals the plane sent every hour to a satellite belonging to Inmarsat, a British company, even after other communication systems on the jetliner shut down for unknown reasons.
The latest satellite information does not provide an exact location but just a rough estimate of where the jet crashed into the sea.
Although there have been an increasing number of apparent leads, there has been no confirmed identification of any debris.