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MH370 widow wants husband back for goodbye

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/12/2016 By Rebecca Le May

Danica Weeks, who lost her husband on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 © AP Photo/Rob Griffith Danica Weeks, who lost her husband on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 The wife of a New Zealand man who was on board the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight 370 says it's farcical the families of passengers have to search the eastern shorelines of Africa for wreckage because official investigators won't.

Exactly 1000 days since the Boeing 777 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board, relatives of those lost souls prepared on Friday to fly to Madagascar to comb its beaches for debris.

While MH370 has still not been found, an Australian-led search team is still scourng the final areas of a 120,000 square kilometre zone in the southern Indian Ocean, after several pieces of wreckage discovered in countries including Mauritius and Tanzania were confirmed to be either "definitely" or "almost certainly" part of the plane.

Families despair that further possible debris found in Madagascar by self-funded amateur investigator and American lawyer Blaine Gibson - including personal items such as bags - was not collected by Malaysian officials for more than half a year.

Seven of the relatives will arrive there on Saturday to begin their own grim beachcombing.

Danica Weeks, who last saw her husband Paul the day before the plane vanished when he flew out from Perth to work on a Mongolian mine site, said it was outrageous relatives had been forced to take matters into their own hands.

"We've been so frustrated with the process thus far that we've had to say 'what can we do to help find our loved ones?' The Malaysians, as I've said all along, want to wipe this under the carpet and so it's getting to the point where it's left up to the family members," Ms Weeks told NZ Newswire.

"The biggest thing for us is to have our loved ones home. That's what we want.

"We will do anything in our power to do that for them and for us and our families and children.

"I'm saddened that it's come to this but we have to take some action.

"We're sitting here - it's like a rollercoaster.

<p>The Boeing 777 aircraft vanished shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.</p> © Reuters

The Boeing 777 aircraft vanished shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.

"Our lives are on hold. The Malaysians can't seem to get that we can't move beyond this.

"We need closure. We need to know where they are. We need our rites of passage to say goodbye and our lives can't start again until we have that.

"It haunts you every moment of the day. It's just beyond human belief. It's heartbreaking."

Ms Weeks said she had nothing but praise for Australian searchers, who were searching in an area dictated to them by Malaysian authorities.

"If it wasn't for them, if it wasn't the southern Indian Ocean, I don't even want to think about how it could have played out because we would have known nothing," she said.

"They have been steadfast in their determination to find this plane."

But relatives had to discover more debris themselves to help refine the search area, which was galling, she said.

"Why aren't the Malaysians doing this? It's their plane," Ms Weeks said.

"Malaysia Airlines is a government-owned body. They had a contract to deliver our loved ones safely. They did not do that and they promised us on day one that they would find them and bring them home to us.

"There have been pieces that have been found and they refuse to go over there.

"So it's left to us."

Ms Weeks said answers were needed not just for the families, but for the future of aviation, given eight million people travel on Boeing 777s every day.

A flaperon that was part of MH370 washed up on Reunion Island a week ago. © Getty Images A flaperon that was part of MH370 washed up on Reunion Island a week ago. "We need to know what happened. Not just us but everyone else that flies.

"It could happen again."

Ms Weeks said she now cannot fly without her two young sons "because if something happens, they're with me and we all go to see Paulie".

On Saturday, the group of seven relatives representing families of passengers and crew dubbed Voice370, comprising four Malaysians including Grace Nathan whose mother was on the plane, will fly to Madagascar along with two Chinese men and a Frenchman who all lost their wives.

Their efforts would be guided by the research of University of Western Australia oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi, who directed Mr Gibson after drift modelling correctly predicted the first piece of debris would wind up in Madagascar.

Professor Pattiaratchi even predicted when the wreckage would reach land, one year before it came to rest on the shore, she noted.

Ms Weeks said more people searching gave greater hope.

"That's all we've got," she said.

"Fingers crossed this brings something. If it doesn't, we'll just have to keep trying.

"We just want him home."

French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015. France's BEA air crash investigation agency said it was examining the debris, in coordination with Malaysian and Australian authorities, to determine whether it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished last year in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history. The mystery of MH370

The official search is expected to end in January or February.

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