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Malaysia Airlines Begins Compensation Talks on Eve of First Funeral

With the first funeral getting under way this weekend for passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the airline said Saturday that it had started talking to the families to discuss compensation.

It has been almost two months since the jet, with 239 people on board, disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

The airline said it was closing assistance centers it set up for the families in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur and urged them to return home to wait for further news.

Image: Relatives of Chinese passengers on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 last month in Beijing.
Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 prayed at a hotel conference room last month in Beijing. Ng Han Guan / AP file

In a statement Saturday, the airline said representatives from its Family Support Center were already in touch with the families to work advance financial assistance, which it said wouldn't affect their rights to seek legal compensation in the courts. The airline said it would provide no further details "out of respect to the grieving families."

The news comes as friends and relatives of Rod and Mary Burrows — two of six Australians on the flight — prepared for a formal memorial Sunday in Brisbane, according to a statement local police released on their behalf.

It will be the first funeral for any of the passengers and crew on Flight MH370.