Malaysia Airlines Denies it 'Abandoned' Families With Foreign Lawyers

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Malaysia Airlines denied reports on Monday that it has "abandoned" family members of the missing jet's crew after some of them sought help from foreign law firms.

According to a local website, airline representatives told some relatives of those missing on MH370 that they could no longer assist them.

The company denied this, issuing a statement Monday claiming that it was the law firms that had requested Malaysia Airlines stop direct contact and instead use their lawyers as intermediaries.

The airline said it "would like to reiterate that it will continue to offer the same assistance to all crew member families, but communications with families represented by foreign lawyers will be through their appointed lawyers as they have directed."

According to the news website Malaysia Insider on Sunday, family of seven of the 12 crew aboard the missing Boeing 777 said the airline had sent them an email telling them to direct all contact through their lawyers.

Jacquita Gonzales, wife of supervisor Patrick Francis Gomes, told a news conference reported by Malaysia Insider: "We do not know what happened. But when I did not hear anything from my caregiver, whom I considered as my close friend, for two days, I made a call to him.

"That was when he told me that they had been asked to stop contacting the crew’s families."

More than two months after Flight 370 went missing on March 8, an international search effort has turned up no clues about the fate of the airliner and the 239 people on board.

- Alexander Smith