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Malaysian Buddhists Pray for Missing Plane Passengers

Malaysian buddhists pray for the missing passengers aboard MH370, while shoppers write well-wishes in shopping malls. 2014-03-15 07:48 AM EST
Malaysian Buddhists gathered in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (March 15) to pray for the missing passengers of flight MH370, which vanished off radar screens on March 8 on a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Monks and civilians lit candles and prayed in the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association.

In a country of diverse faiths, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians have held prayers the past week, in hopes that divine intervention could solve its mysterious disappearance.

Investigators now believe someone aboard the Boeing 777 deliberately shut off its communications and tracking systems, turned the plane around and flew for nearly seven hours after it vanished, Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday (March 15).

The latest developments have brought some hope for the passengers' families, who have been waiting for days for clues to what happened to their loved ones.

The Buddhists echoed the optimism.

"Even though there is a very thin ray of hope, we are still hope to the safety and well being (of the passengers)," said S.C. Chim, president of the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association.

In shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, locals and tourists have written messages of support on wishing boards, many perplexed at how the plane could disappear without leaving any trace.

"I suppose in the end all will be revealed. And that I guess we just have to wait until that happens I guess. It's not much that we can do," said Australian tourist Robert Knight, who was stopping over in Kuala Lumpur with his wife, on their way to Europe.

It is extremely rare for a modern passenger aircraft to disappear once it has reached cruising altitude, as MH370 had. When that does happen, the debris from a crash is usually found close to its last known position relatively quickly.

In this case, there has been no trace of the plane, nor any sign of wreckage, as the navies and military aircraft of more than a dozen countries scour the seas on both sides of peninsular Malaysia.

Najib said analysis of the plane's last communication with satellites placed it in one of two corridors - a northern corridor stretching approximately from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern corridor approximately from Indonesia to the southern Indian ocean.

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