Paul and Danica Weeks.
The family of Kiwi Paul Weeks are hanging on to slim
hopes he could still be alive after it was revealed Malaysia
Airlines Flight MH370 flew for more than seven hours after its
last contact with the outside world a week ago.
In a dramatic development last night, Malaysian Prime
Minister Najib Razak revealed search and rescue teams were
trying to trace the jet across two possible "corridors" - one
along the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan through to
northern Thailand, and a southern corridor from Indonesia to
the southern Indian Ocean.
He said communication devices had been disabled in "a
deliberate act by someone on that plane", leading to
increased speculation that the flight was hijacked.
Najib said all crew and passengers were under investigation,
and there were reports last night that police were searching
the home of the captain, 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
"We hope this new information brings us one step closer to
finding the plane," Najib said.
The news came after a week of frustration at the failure to
find any trace of the aircraft, which disappeared eight days
Last night's development brought a glimmer of hope to the
Weeks family, who have been hanging on every development
during a torturous week.
Paul's sister Sara Weeks said the family watched the Prime
Minister's press conference live at their Christchurch home.
"I would be lying to say that there's no hope and think, well
it's a hijacking, so potentially there could be hope that
those people could still be alive. But I think we felt even
if it had crashed, potentially there are survivors."
Sara Weeks said that if the plane had been hijacked, it
"doesn't necessarily mean anything good".
Paul Weeks' wife, Danica, who lives in Perth, was doing "as
well as can be expected", a friend said last night. Danica
Weeks had dropped her husband at the airport as he set off to
start a new job in Mongolia.
Paul Weeks and Aucklander Ximin Wang, were among the 239
passengers and crew aboard the flight.
Malaysia Airlines officials have not been in touch with the
Weeks despite Najib claiming at the press conference that the
company had contacted families.
"It's very frustrating not having that communication because
it just seems that we're not being told at all and it's not
just us, it's everyone who had family members on that
flight," Sara said.
"This is stuff that as families we needed to know a long time
about. It's very hard to deal with because you just want to
know things, you just want to rule things out and we're not
Weeks said that her family, including her mother, who lives
in Perth a few doors away from her son, were gathering
together for her 40th birthday today but it "wouldn't be the
"It's just an awful thing to have to go through and the lack
of knowledge has been terrible.
"It's very difficult for everyone, for us as a family, and
all the family members of everyone on that plane must all be
feeling the same way - just quite helpless because you don't
Wang's family in Auckland could not be reached for comment.
Last night, a Malaysian official told the Herald on Sunday
they were working on the theory crew and passengers could
still be alive.
"We are not ruling out the possibility that the plane
crash-landed on land, or people were removed using life
rafts," the official said, on the condition of anonymity.
"The search is over land just as much as it is over sea."
The last time a satellite signal was received from the plane
was 8.11am eight days ago.
"That means it is very possible the people could be on an
island either in the Andaman [Sea] or the Indian Ocean."
- Herald on Sunday