Relatives sob after announcement on missing plane

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Relatives sob after announcement on missing plane
A relative of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 yells at a security personnel while she attends a protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative (C) of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 yells at a security personnel (R) while she attends a protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Medical personnel assist a person while relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative (C) of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she participates in a protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Medical personnel assist a person while relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Grieving relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protest with plarcards outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
A grieving relative (C) of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is comforted by others as they protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Grieving relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protest with a plarcard (C) reading 'we want the truth' outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
People assist a relative (C) who fainted during a protest, held by the relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
A grieving Chinese relative of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 yells to journalists as they gather to protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 march to protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 march to protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 march to protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are removed by bus after their protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are removed by bus after their protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police block grieving Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as they protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 25: Chinese relatives of the passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 clash with Chinese police outside the Malaysian Embassy on March 25, 2014 in Beijing, China. Hundreds of protesters, including many relatives of missing flight MH370 passengers, marched on the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing demanding answers from Malaysian authorities about the fate of the flight. The Prime Minister of Malaysia announced yesterday that new data showed the flight had crashed into the Southern Indian Ocean. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are removed by bus after their protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Grieving Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 walk past a paramilitary police barricade as they gather to protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Grieving Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 try to remove a police barricade blocking journalists as they gather to protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014. Scores of angry relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 set out on a protest march to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25 to demand more answers about the crashed plane's fate. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative (L) of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries after hearing the news that the plane plunged into Indian Ocean at a hotel in Beijing on March 24, 2014. The missing Malaysia Airlines jet came down in the Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Najib Razak said March 24, as the airline reportedly told relatives it had been lost and that none on board survived. AFP PHOTO / GOH CHAI HIN (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 waves her fist as she cries after hearing the news that the plane plunged into the Indian Ocean at a hotel in Beijing on March 24, 2014. The missing Malaysia Airlines jet came down in the Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Najib Razak said March 24, as the airline reportedly told relatives it had been lost and that none on board survived. AFP PHOTO / GOH CHAI HIN (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is taken away by medical personnel after being told the news that the plane plunged into Indian Ocean in Beijing on March 24, 2014. The missing Malaysia Airlines jet came down in the Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Najib Razak said March 24, as the airline reportedly told relatives it had been lost and that none on board survived. AFP PHOTO / GOH CHAI HIN (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative (C) of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is taken away by medical personnel after being told the news that the plane plunged into Indian Ocean in Beijing on March 24, 2014. The missing Malaysia Airlines jet came down in the Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Najib Razak said March 24, as the airline reportedly told relatives it had been lost and that none on board survived. AFP PHOTO / GOH CHAI HIN (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as he walks out of a hotel hall at after hearing the news that the plane plunged into Indian Ocean in Beijing on March 24, 2014. The missing Malaysia Airlines jet came down in the Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Najib Razak said March 24, as the airline reportedly told relatives it had been lost and that none on board survived. AFP PHOTO / GOH CHAI HIN (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 leave after being told that the missing airliner had crashed in the Indian Ocean at the Metro Park Lido Hotel in Beijing on March 24, 2014. Tears and cries of inconsolable pain and loss echoed from a Beijing hotel ballroom as the relatives of MH370 passengers learned the news: their loved ones were dead. Some clung on to other family members for crumbs of comfort as they left the room where they were told the Malaysia Airlines flight had ended, incontestably, in the remote southern Indian Ocean. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative of victims from the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane cries while awaiting updates at a hotel in Putrajaya on March 11, 2014. Malaysia has expanded its search area for a missing jet after three days of scouring the sea failed to bring forth any confirmed sightings of wreckage, an official said. He added that besides searching in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam, authorities were also searching on land in Malaysia and off western Malaysia. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman (R) breaks down while leaving the reception centre for families and friends after an airliner went missing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8, 2014. Malaysia and Vietnam on March 8 led a search for a Malaysia Airlines jet that has gone missing over Southeast Asia, as fears mounted over the fate of the 239 people aboard. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A crying woman is escorted to a bus for relatives at the Beijing Airport after news of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane on March 8, 2014. Malaysia Airlines said a flight carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing early on March 8, and the airline was notifying next of kin in a sign it expected the worst. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A possible relative cries at the Beijing Airport after news of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane in Beijing on March 8, 2014. Malaysia Airlines said a flight carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing early on March 8, and the airline was notifying next of kin in a sign it expected the worst. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A crying woman, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, is assisted by volunteers as she leaves a hotel ballroom where families were briefed on rescue and searching efforts in Beijing, China, Friday, March 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
A woman cries as she walks out of the reception center and holding area for family and friend of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 8, 2014. Search teams across Southeast Asia scrambled on Saturday to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early that morning. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane cries as she holds a banner in front of journalists reading 'We are against the Malaysian government for hiding the truth and delaying the rescue. Release our families unconditionally!" at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Malaysian authorities examined new radar data from Thailand that could potentially give clues on how to retrace the course of the Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished early March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Twenty-six countries are looking for the aircraft as relatives anxiously await news. (AP Photo) MALAYSIA OUT
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BEIJING (AP) -- Relatives shrieked and sobbed uncontrollably. Men and women nearly collapsed, held up by loved ones. Their grief came pouring out after 17 days of waiting for definitive word on the fate of the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

Malaysia's prime minister gave that word late Monday in an announcement from Kuala Lumpur, saying there was no longer any doubt that Flight 370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean.

Relatives of passengers in Beijing had been called to a hotel near the airport to hear the news, and some 50 of them gathered there. Afterward, they filed out of a conference room in heart-wrenching grief.

One woman collapsed and fell on her knees, crying "My son! My son!"

Medical teams arrived at the Lido hotel with several stretchers and one elderly man was carried out of the conference room on one of them, his face covered by a jacket. Minutes later, a middle-aged woman was taken out on another stretcher, her face ashen and her blank eyes seemingly staring off into the distance.

Most of the relatives refused to speak to gathered reporters and some lashed out in anger, urging journalists not to film the scene. Security guards restrained a man with close-cropped hair as he kicked a TV cameraman and shouted, "Don't film. I'll beat you to death!"

Some relatives staying at hotels in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur were notified in person of the imminent late-night news conference by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, and some heard over the phone.

Some received a heads-up by text message, said Sarah Bajc, who has been awaiting news of the fate of her boyfriend, Philip Wood, ever since the plane disappeared March 8 on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.

"Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived," the text message said. "As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia's Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean."

Bajc noted in an email that the prime minister's announcement made no mention of confirmed wreckage, "so no real closure," but she also said the time for grief had begun.

"I need closure to be certain but cannot keep on with public efforts against all odds. I STILL feel his presence, so perhaps it was his soul all along," she wrote. "It looks like the first phase of our mission has ended. Now Philip's family and I will need some time for private grief."

Wang Zhen, whose father and mother, Wang Linshi and Xiong Yunming, were aboard the flight as part of a group of Chinese artists touring Malaysia, said he heard the announcement on television in the hotel where he has been staying.

"My mind is a mess right now. Can we talk later?" he said by telephone.

Nan Jinyan, whose brother-in-law Yan Ling, a medical company engineer, was aboard the flight on a business trip, said she was prepared for the worst when she heard the Malaysian prime minister would make a statement.

"This is a blow to us, and it is beyond description," Nan said.

At the Lido hotel, where many of the Chinese relatives have complained about what they have described as incomplete or contradictory information provided by the airline and Malaysian authorities, two distraught women and a man came to address journalists nearly two hours after the announcement.

"I tell you, this was the wrong way to release this information," one of the women said between sobs, speaking over the bellows of security guards trying to hold back the crush. "It's all so black," she said, using the Chinese expression for opacity and deceit.

In Kuala Lumpur, screaming could be heard from inside the Hotel Bangi Putrajaya, where some of the families of passengers have been given rooms.

Selamat Omar, father of a 29-year-old aviation engineer aboard the flight, said in a telephone interview that Malaysia Airlines had not yet briefed the families on whether they will be taken to Australia, closer to where the plane is believed to have gone down. He said they expected more details Tuesday.

"We accept the news of the tragedy. It is fate," Selamat said.

---

Associated Press writers Didi Tang and Ian Mader in Beijing, and Todd Pitman and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.

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