Flight MH370: Air tragedy close to home

Kiwi mum: As I was shopping in Perth my husband was crashing into the ocean nearby.

Danica Weeks has not yet told sons Jack (left) and Lincoln what has happened to their father.  Photo / 60 Minutes
Danica Weeks has not yet told sons Jack (left) and Lincoln what has happened to their father. Photo / 60 Minutes

When Danica Weeks first heard that the Malaysia Airlines flight her husband Paul was on was missing, she never thought an international search effort would be based only 10 minutes from their Perth home.

Mr Weeks, 39, was one of 227 passengers on board flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.


Paul Weeks.

After a debris field possibly connected to MH370 was discovered off the coast of Western Australia last week and new information was gleaned about the Boeing 777's last movements, Malaysian authorities said the plane had probably crashed into the Southern Indian Ocean and all on board had perished.

Watch: Objects spotted with Malaysia Airline colours

Mrs Weeks, like many of the other MH370 families, was given the crushing news by text message.

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Last night, she spoke for the first time about that message and how she and their two little boys were coping.

She described the heartache of living so close to where the possible wreckage was found in an interview with Australia's 60 Minutes programme.

"So close [where the plane went down] and I would have been out at the shops at the time. I was in Perth merrily going along our family way while he was crashing into the ocean," she said.

Watch: Malaysians pay tribute to passengers of missing jet

Video

Mrs Weeks also revealed she still hadn't told her sons Lincoln, 3, and Jack, 11 months, that their beloved father was gone.

She said Lincoln knew something was wrong and kept asking her where his father was.

"Lincoln this morning, he was having a meltdown and he's [saying], 'I'm missing daddy, I'm missing daddy, when's daddy coming home? Um is daddy still missing?"

Mrs Weeks lives 11km from the Royal Australian Air Force's Pearce Base at Bullsbrook, north of Perth.

Watch: Satellite spots 300 objects

Her interview aired last night, as 10 planes that had been searching an area 1850km west of Perth were returning from sweeping the ocean for clues.

The search was focused on an area of about 319,000sq km, based on analysis by international air crash investigators.

The Australian Navy vessel Ocean Shield left Perth yesterday to join the search, after being equipped with a black box detector and an underwater vehicle.

The text message sent to Mrs Weeks.
The text message sent to Mrs Weeks.

The Anzac class frigate HMAS Toowoomba was due to arrive in the search area within the next three days.

All ships in the search area were trying to find and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.

Yesterday, Australian officials said the Chinese patrol ship Haixun1 and HMAS Success had retrieved several objects from the ocean but none have been confirmed as related to flight MH370.

The retrieval was the first time searchers have handled debris first sighted by a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion and four other search planes in a new search area off Australia's west coast.

Search planes continue to be sent out in stages, so at least one will be over the area for most of the daylight hours.

The search will resume this morning.

- staff reporter

- NZ Herald

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