BEIJING – Anguish has kept truck-driver Bian Miaoyang awake for days.
“I always think of her,” he said of his sister, a passenger on the Malaysia Airlines jet that went missing Saturday.
It feels like he has lost a mother more than a sibling, Bian said in Beijing’s Lido Hotel, where hundreds of relatives of the 239 passengers and crew on flight MH370 waited for news.
With 153 Chinese passengers on board the Beijing-bound flight, China has been hit particularly hard by the tragedy.
“We didn’t have a mother since I was five – we didn’t enjoy a mother’s love. It was my elder sister and elder brother who raised me," he told NBC News on Thursday. "It has been quite hard on her all these years.”
As Bian and others waited, planes, ships and satellites scoured an area of sea covering 27,000 square nautical miles where the flight is thought to have gone down. Many families posted prayers and good wishes on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
“We are waiting desperately. My child is asking me for his father every day. What should I do?”
One woman who identified herself only by her last name Yang, said she was offended at suggestions that families were only interested in the $5,000 compensation the airline was offering survivors.
“We don’t want money, we want the person back,” she said of her 28-year-old niece.
“We are not considering compensation, but want news about what happened,” said a father from Inner Mongolia whose 29-year-old son was on the plane. “He went to Singapore on company business, but now … we are in pain.”
Loved ones’ frustration has tipped into anger as the inexplicable disappearance has dragged on, and Malaysian authorities have been criticized for bungling the search.
The wife of one passenger, who only identified herself by her last name Wen, demanded action from the Chinese premier and his wife.
“I don’t know what is more important than the lives of the more than 200 passengers missing,” said Wen. “I want to ask you Mrs. Xi, if your husband, President Xi Jinping were on the plane, what would you do? If it were your parents, what would you do?”
“We are waiting desperately. My child is asking me for his father every day. What should I do?” she added. “We have not information whatsoever.”
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.