BEIJING -- Around 40 people gathered outside China's foreign ministry Friday to seek answers on the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which took away their loved ones exactly five years ago.
The plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, on a journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The majority of the 239 people on board were Chinese.
While the mystery initially captured the world's attention and prompted a joint search effort by China, Malaysia and Australia, the whereabouts of the plane remain unknown. Debris that washed ashore in the western Indian Ocean indicated the plane crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean.
The passengers' families, however, have not given up hope.
"Why does the world stop talking?" asked Guan Zhongping, whose daughter was on the flight.
"Why is it totally covered up?" he said. "We, the relatives, want to put a question mark on this."
Zhang Niuli, who lost her daughter on the flight, said the families met with a foreign ministry director surnamed Chen for about 15 minutes. Zhang said they were disappointed Chen didn't have any direct responses to their questions.
After the two years-long joint underwater search in the southern Indian Ocean was called off in January 2017, a U.S. company attempted an exploration last May that also yielded no results.
But there have been rumblings that Malaysia may resume its search, said Jiang Hui, whose mother was among the passengers.
A Malaysian-led independent investigation report released last July raised the possibility of "intervention by a third party," reiterating Malaysia's assertion that the plan was deliberately diverted and flown for over seven hours after severing communications.
Yet the report said there was no indication of abnormal behavior or stress in the two pilots that could lead them to hijack the plane. All the passengers were also cleared by police and had no pilot training.