“We understand that it has been a difficult time for all the families…We find ourselves in a difficult position. I repeat: the question that the families principally want answered, is the question we simply do not have the answer to – namely, where their loved ones are, and where is MH370.”
-Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian Minister of Defense,
March 31, 2014[i]
There is no good way to find out a loved one has perished.
It is a problem that every human being will inevitably face in life, and no amount of preparation or awareness of the situation will truly make the sting of grief any easier. However, for nearly a thousand individuals around the world, the wait to find out what happened to their loved ones has lasted for three years. And the way that these individuals found out that their loved ones almost certainly perished came after a prolonged period of confusion, conflicting information, and mistrust, and was delivered in one of the most impersonal ways possible. I am referring to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Three years ago today, on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) departed from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 am local time and was expected to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 am. However, at approximately 2:40 am, Malaysia Airlines lost contact with the plane. Since that morning, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government, and international search agencies and governments from across the globe were in a frantic search for answers as to what happened to this flight, and the 239 souls onboard.[ii] That is until January of this year, when the investigation into what happened to flight MH370 ended with little to no answers[iii]
The international search for the plane, however, is not what interests me here. Rather, how Malaysian Airlines and the Malaysian government communicated to the people most invested in the answer to what happened to flight MH370, the families and friends of those on board, is.