Plight of missing plane and sinking ship (Comment 7, May 1, 2014)
ASIAN GRIEF: 2 MAJOR TRANSPORTATION CALAMITIES A MONTH APART
Two unpleasant incidents in the transportation industry in March and April this year have distressed Asians, the first being the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, and the second, the sinking of the ship, Sewol, in South Korea.
It is now 55 days (1 May 2014) since Flight MH370, which was heading for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, vanished. The aircraft was carrying 239 people, and nobody knows where it is now. But experts felt that it could have veered off course and plunged in the southern part of the Indian Ocean and so search teams have been deployed in the area.
Intense search for the missing jetliner was initiated the day it disappeared on 8 March. Malaysia and more than two dozen countries are involved in various humanitarian ways in the search for the plane, many with their aviation and aquatic expertise. Several underwater search missions in the Indian Ocean in recent weeks, using sophisticated equipment like the Blufin-21, have still not found anything related to the missing aircraft.
Then, on 16 April, disaster struck in Korea in another transportation accident. Sewol, carrying 476 passengers, of whom 325 were high-school students, sank. The accident killed 33 people. Nearly 270 of them are still missing. The others were rescued.
The ferry sank while sailing from Incheon to Jeju, a resort island. The mood in Korea over this tragedy has been sombre since then.
We Singaporeans are thankful to those nations that are helping in these two Asian tragedies, and share the sadness and anxiety of the relatives of those on board the Malaysian missing plane and those on board the Korean ferry that sank.