Chinese relatives pray over lost Malaysian plane

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Chinese Relatives from Missing Malaysia Plane - April 18
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Chinese relatives pray over lost Malaysian plane
One of relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 grieves at a hotel conference room in Beijing, China, Friday, April 18, 2014. A robotic submarine headed back down into the depths of the Indian Ocean on Friday to scour the seafloor for any trace of the missing Malaysian jet one month after the search began off Australia's west coast, as data from the sub's previous missions turned up no evidence of the plane.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 pray at a hotel conference room in Beijing, China, Friday, April 18, 2014. A robotic submarine headed back down into the depths of the Indian Ocean on Friday to scour the seafloor for any trace of the missing Malaysian jet one month after the search began off Australia's west coast, as data from the sub's previous missions turned up no evidence of the plane.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 pray at a hotel conference room in Beijing, China, Friday, April 18, 2014. A robotic submarine headed back down into the depths of the Indian Ocean on Friday to scour the seafloor for any trace of the missing Malaysian jet one month after the search began off Australia's west coast, as data from the sub's previous missions turned up no evidence of the plane.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines 370 walk out from a video-conference with Malaysian officials in protest at the difficulties of communications in Beijing, China, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. A robotic submarine looking for the lost Malaysian jet continued its second seabed search on Wednesday as up to 14 planes were to take to the skies for some of the final sweeps of the Indian Ocean for floating debris from the ill-fated airliner. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
One of relatives of Chinese passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 pray at a hotel conference room in Beijing, China, Friday, April 18, 2014. A robotic submarine headed back down into the depths of the Indian Ocean on Friday to scour the seafloor for any trace of the missing Malaysian jet one month after the search began off Australia's west coast, as data from the sub's previous missions turned up no evidence of the plane.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines 370 wait in a room after walking out to protest the difficulties of communicating with Malaysian officials through video conferencing in Beijing, China, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. A robotic submarine looking for the lost Malaysian jet continued its second seabed search on Wednesday as up to 14 planes were to take to the skies for some of the final sweeps of the Indian Ocean for floating debris from the ill-fated airliner. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A relative of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines 370 waits in a room after walking out to protest the difficulties of communicating with Malaysian officials through video conferencing in Beijing, China, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. A robotic submarine looking for the lost Malaysian jet continued its second seabed search on Wednesday as up to 14 planes were to take to the skies for some of the final sweeps of the Indian Ocean for floating debris from the ill-fated airliner. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 chat before a meeting with officials from China's civil aviation at a hotel in Beijing, China Saturday, April 12, 2014. With no new underwater signals detected, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Saturday that the massive search for the Malaysian jet would likely continue "for a long time" as electronic transmissions from the dying black boxes were fading fast. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A woman, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reacts during a briefing held by Malaysia officials at a hotel in Beijing, China Friday, April 11, 2014. Authorities are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday, raising hopes they are near solving one of aviation's most perplexing mysteries. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A man, center, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 takes a nap against the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers during a briefing held by Malaysia officials at a hotel in Beijing, China Friday, April 11, 2014. Authorities are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday, raising hopes they are near solving one of aviation's most perplexing mysteries. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A woman, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 shows her mobile phone displaying a photo of her father, who was aboard the missing plane near the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers at a hotel in Beijing, China Friday, April 11, 2014. Authorities are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday, raising hopes they are near solving one of aviation's most perplexing mysteries. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 leave the conference room after they attending a briefing held by Malaysia officials at a hotel in Beijing, China Friday, April 11, 2014. Authorities are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday, raising hopes they are near solving one of aviation's most perplexing mysteries. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
AP10thingsToSee - Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 pray during a candlelight vigil for their loved ones at a hotel in Beijing, China, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Feng Zhishang cries as family members mark the birthday of his son Feng Dong, a passenger onboard the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at a hotel where relatives gather to wait for news of the missing plane in Beijing, China, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Search crews have failed to relocate faint sounds heard deep in the Indian Ocean, possibly from the missing Malaysian jetliner's black boxes whose batteries are at the end of their life. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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PERTH, Australia (AP) -- Six weeks into the extensive search for the lost Malaysia Airlines plane without so much as a piece of debris yet found, several Chinese relatives met Friday to pray for spouses who never came home, while begging for answers that could end their misery of not knowing.

Candles burned on a table in the shape of a heart with the letters MH370 in the middle while about three dozen relatives held a prayer service at a hotel ballroom in Beijing where they have been meeting since the Boeing 777 mysteriously vanished. A banner behind them read in Chinese: "Husband, wife, come home soon."

"There are different relationships touched by grief, from children, to parents, to siblings, and now we wanted spouses to have a chance to release their feelings," said Jack Song, a representative for the relatives. Many of those gathered sobbed as gentle music played and a microphone was passed around for anyone who wished to speak.

Thousands of miles away, off the western coast of Australia, aircraft, ships and a robotic submarine continued searching for the aircraft that disappeared with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing on March 8, six weeks ago on Saturday.

The U.S. Navy's Bluefin 21 sub was scanning the seabed with sonar to find anything that could resemble wreckage. It has searched 110 square kilometers (42 square miles) of the silt-covered seabed but has found nothing so far, the search coordination center said.

On Thursday, officials said oil samples taken from a slick near the underwater search area were not related to the plane. The underwater search was narrowed to that area because of signals believed to be emanating from the jet's black boxes. The sounds were last detected April 8, about the time the batteries on the beacons from the all-important flight data and cockpit recorders would have failed.

Radar and satellite data show the plane flew far off-course and would have run out of fuel in the remote section of the Indian Ocean where the search has been focused.

The underwater hunt is being complicated by the depth of the largely unexplored sea floor in an untraveled part of the ocean. The unmanned submarine dived to 4,695 meters (15,404 feet) during its fourth search mission, beyond its recommended limit of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet), according to the U.S. 7th Fleet. That could risk the equipment, but it is being closely monitored.

The search coordination center has said the search for floating debris on the surface will continue at least into next week. On Friday, 11 planes and 12 ships searched across about 52,000 square kilometers (20,000 square miles) of sea. The U.S. alone has flown 35 missions, racking up 319 hours of flight time over nearly 450,000 nautical miles of ocean, according to the 7th Fleet.

Some families refuse to believe the aircraft crashed into the sea and have instead denounced the search effort as a cover-up.

"We believe the plane and our relatives are still alive. Bring them home, that's all we ask," said one of the Chinese relatives, who would only give his surname, Zhang. "The only way there could be no evidence, no debris is if the plane landed intact."

He and several other family members marched from the prayer service to a local park and held a brief sit-in on Friday.

For other waiting families, each day with no news brings more tortuous doubts as they try to go on living without knowing why their relatives didn't come home.

"We ask that they find the plane, find our loved ones, live or dead, give us something," Song said. "Until the evidence is presented, we have a right to question."

Chinese Relatives of Passengers on Missing Plane Vent Their Fury
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