“It turned the story from passive victims to heroic status,” he said. “And while that doesn’t mitigate the death, it still gives people a sense of here is what happened, and how it happened and what the loved one probably experienced. It provides – and I hate to use that word – closure.”
“We just don’t know what happened [to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370],” said Doka. “If the plane plunged into the sea and passengers only knew for a minute they would die, or if there was an ongoing terrorist attack of hijacking and you can see them living with the anxiety, it’s harder to cope.”
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, passenger families will need support, he said.
“Counselors are there doing first aid, being there with families and allowing them to vent. They are validating their feelings. What the airlines should be doing is trying to convey as much information as they can verify to provide a sense of, “We care about this and we are with you.”
“What is important is to provide a cocoon of safety and security around these people – and good communication,” said Doka. “They need good communication and not a conspiracy of silence.”