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September 23, 2017

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Family finds comfort in Malaysian PM's remarks

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's Saturday remarks that Flight MH370 may not have crashed into the ocean have offered a clearer direction on the search for the missing jet, families of passengers on board the flight said Sunday.

Chuang Ching-chiang, the younger brother of the flight's only Taiwanese passenger, Chuang Hsiu-ling, said he has been given new hope by Najib's comment that the search area for the flight will be expanded in light of "new evidence."

Malaysian authorities now believe that the plane was diverted from its original Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight path and continued to fly for up to seven hours after disappearing.

Najib did not go so far as to confirm speculation that the plane was hijacked, but Chuang Ching-chiang said he chose to believe that was the case since not so much as a piece of luggage has been found since the plane disappeared March 8.

Families in Malaysia waiting for information on their loved ones on board the flight said the "clearer direction" given by Najib in his statements made them feel more optimistic about the search after being left disappointed by perceived inefficiency on the part of Malaysia Airlines and the government.

The missing jet was carrying 227 passengers and a 12-member crew before air traffic controllers lost contact with it.

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