Emotional relatives of those aboard doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Thursday (Aug 6) said they hoped the first proof that it crashed will help finally solve the agonising mystery, but many also expressed anger and disbelief.
Long-suffering families of the 239 people on board the flight have been waiting since March 8 last year for the first evidence of what happened to the Boeing 777, which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
They have struggled with a desire for closure while holding onto slim hopes that those on board might still be alive, with widespread criticism of Malaysia's handling of the disaster.
Most of those on the plane were Chinese and many still refuse to believe their loved ones are dead, despite Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announcing wreckage found on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion was from the jet.
"I don't believe this latest information about the plane, they have been lying to us from the beginning," said Zhang Yongli, whose daughter was on the plane.
"I know my daughter is out there, but they won't tell us the truth," he added, waving Chinese and Communist Party flags.
Bao Lanfang, whose grandson was on board, told reporters, "Everyone has been lying to us", before collapsing on the floor and crying. "I will do anything to see him again," the 63-year-old added through her tears. "Just tell me what I need to do, I'll do it".
French officials who analysed the wreckage said only that there was a "very high probability" it came from MH370. "The French examiners were instead very cautious. They haven't drawn a conclusion," noted Wen Bai, whose 34-year-old son was on board. "How can you jump to the conclusion that the plane has crashed simply on the base of a single piece of debris? It could be pulled from other aircraft."
'IT WILL SURELY RETURN SAFELY'
Many Chinese relatives of MH370 passengers have consistently expressed beliefs that their loved ones are alive, perhaps being held at an unknown location, despite the mounting evidence of a fatal crash. Several gathering on Thursday held signs with a picture of an aeroplane, reading: "It will surely return safely".
On a social media group other relatives expressed similar sentiments, saying: "Don't believe them! They must have switched the debris! We do believe all our relatives will come back safe and sound!"
Elsewhere Chinese people took to social media sites to express scepticism about Malaysia, whose reputation has taken a knock in China for its handling of the incident. "Malaysia wanted to avoid the large amount of payment for the relatives so it announced that it found the debris in Reunion and that the airplane crashed accidentally. We don't believe Malaysia," one comment on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo read.
Some families said the confirmation was not enough to lay the matter to rest, and demanded to know why the plane went off course, flying for hours after its communications and tracking systems were shut down.
Najib, whose government has been accused by next-of-kin of a possible cover-up and insensitive treatment of families - charges that have been vehemently denied - gave no indication that analysis of the debris yielded any clues into the cause of the disappearance.
"Now I want to know where the main body of the plane is so that we can take out the passengers and get the black box so we can know what happened. Only that, for us, will be full closure," said Malaysian Jacquita Gonzales, wife of MH370 chief steward Patrick Gomes.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE
Sara Weeks, the sister of New Zealand passenger Paul Weeks, welcomed news that debris had finally been found, but said it was "pretty disgusting" that she heard about the confirmation from a reporter and not Malaysian authorities.
"We've had 17 months of nothing... so actually finding something is the first step towards pinpointing where it is," Weeks told the Fairfax New Zealand media group.
"I guess in the end we all know that something's happened, you have to have that confirmation to carry on and move on."
But she said the latest development simply brought back all the painful memories of losing her brother.
"Anytime anything happens, it takes you right back to the beginning, the same feelings, same everything, but again this time it has been a week of turmoil and that's going to continue for some time."
There were six Australians on board the flight, including Rodney and Mary Burrows from Queensland, who were on a long-planned holiday to celebrate their retirement.
Rodney's father George Burrows said he was expecting confirmation the debris was from the jet, but still wants answers about what actually happened.
"Well, it's news and we hope we might find some more answers but a bit doubtful," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "But anyway, it's better than nothing."
Like Weeks, he said the worst part was the emotions boiling up to the surface once again, making it difficult to move on, particularly for his three grandchildren who no longer have a mother or father.
"We're just getting over things and you know, the kids were starting to accept it... then this happens and they're back to square one."