Paul and Danica Weeks on their wedding day in November
Danica Weeks learned her husband Paul was dead via text
The New Zealand woman was one of many family members of those
aboard flight MH370 who received the cold and matter-of-fact
statement via her mobile phone.
"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 message said.
It was a crippling blow for the mother of two young children
who was desperately clinging on to hope that somehow, her
husband might be still be alive somewhere.
For Mrs Weeks and the entire family, it summed up the
"incredibly insensitive" and bungled handling of the Malaysia
Airlines Flight 370 mystery by the authorities.
Danica Weeks is still too distraught to speak about what
might have happened to her beloved husband, father of
Lincoln, 3, and 11-month-old Jack.
But Mr Weeks' sister Sara has blasted authorities in Kuala
Lumpur and Malaysia Airlines.
"As a family we all feel the same way - the whole situation
has just been extremely badly handled in every possible way
that it could be," she said last night from Perth.
The text message left the family cold.
"It was just wrong, wrong on every level."
Sara Weeks cited withheld information, drip-fed updates, the
devastating news delivered by text and the "incredibly
insensitive" offer of $5000 compensation to grieving families
while the Indian Ocean search went on as examples of of ways
families had been let down.
The offer had no yet been discussed in the Weeks household.
"How can you compensate that kind of loss?" Sara asked.
It's that sort of gesture, along with how the whole event has
unfolded, that she thinks legal action will happen down the
"Ultimately, it'll be something for Danica to decide as next
of kin. But, on the face of it, it looks so bad for the
Malaysian Government and Malaysia Airlines that I wouldn't be
surprised if most people do join forces and attempt legal
action over it."
Sara, whose 40th birthday passed in a blur of teary grief
last week, said the family was fed up with how the disaster
had been handled. The way Malaysian Prime Minister Najib
Razak had fronted press conferences and constantly changed
the script had been especially galling for the Weeks family.
"Every time there's something different, they find something,
and then they don't," Sara said.
She also queried the certainty with which the plane was
unequivocally declared lost at sea with no survivors.
"Whilst the likelihood is that it's somewhere where they are
looking, just the press statement itself was quite blunt and
there was no evidence to back that up," Sara said.
"That's what all the families are struggling with."
Digging deep into her "generosity of heart", she believed
that Malaysia Airlines had done its best to support the
But whether it was the sheer scale of the event, or through
pure mismanagement, Sara said they had "failed miserably".
"They have really done an appalling job in keeping people up
to date," she said.
"Both Danica and I have been horrified by the lack of
information, the lack of updates, and the way they've been
The family are rallying around, leaning on each other for
support. Many of them are in Perth, with Danica and her
Paul Weeks had moved his family there for a new start after
the February 22, 2011 earthquake.
Danica's mother Kay Thompson was with her in Perth, helping
with the kids, and getting through the days.
"Danica is holding up the best she can," Sara said.
- by Kurt Bayer