NEW: The Bluefin-21 has combed 95% of a search area with no significant results
Passenger's partner accuses Malaysian Prime Minister of deflecting blame
The PM asked an investigation team to see what other information can be released
Malaysia delivered a preliminary report to the U.N. but did not release it publicly
Facing anger from families of Flight 370 passengers, Malaysia’s Prime Minister said Thursday his government will release its preliminary report on the plane’s disappearance.
In a TV exclusive, Najib Razak told CNN the report will be available to the public next week.
“I have directed an internal investigation team of experts to look at the report, and there is a likelihood that next week we could release the report,” Najib said. Later in the interview with CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest, he gave a more definitive statement, saying the report will be released next week.
He also asked an internal investigation team to look into what other information may be released publicly next week, his office said.
In the CNN interview, Najib discussed why he is not yet officially declaring the flight – and the 239 people on board – lost.
The report has already been sent to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.N. body for global aviation, but not made available to the public.
The ICAO told CNN about a safety recommendation in the report: Malaysia said the aviation world needs to look at real-time tracking of commercial aircraft. It’s the same recommendation that was made after the Air France Flight 447 disaster in 2009.
The Prime Minister’s comments didn’t convince Sarah Bajc, whose partner, Philip Wood, was a passenger on the plane. She accused Najib of “political maneuvering,” shirking responsibility and deflecting blame in his interview with CNN.
“I spent most of the morning with my jaw basically scraping the floor,” Bajc told CNN’s “AC360.” “I’m just so astounded by this new shift that the Prime Minister is taking. … He’s reading from a script sheet that some qualified, professional PR person has put together for him.”
Malaysian authorities need to do a better job of communicating with the families and answering their questions during briefings, she said, rather than treating passengers’ loved ones “as if we are the enemy, as opposed to an interested party in helping to solve this mystery.”
“Actions speak louder than words,” she said. “The briefings are a joke. … The patience level of the families group is just gone.”
Malaysia has insisted it has nothing to hide and is working to find answers.
A committee representing some of the Chinese families have posted 26 questions on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
Families plan to demand answers from Boeing
The missing flight is a Boeing 777.
While pushing Malaysian authorities for answers, “we’re also extending our reach now,” Bajc said. Some of the questions the families have, including technical questions, “we will be bringing directly to Boeing. Boeing has a shareholders meeting next week. And if we’re not getting information directly from Malaysia Airlines and from the Malaysian government, we might as well try to go directly to the source.
“Boeing is a publicly traded company in the United States, and that puts them in a position of a little bit more fiduciary responsibility,” she said.
Asked for a response, Boeing sent CNN a written statement: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies continue to be with the families and loved ones of those aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Boeing continues to serve as a technical adviser to the U.S. National Transportation (Safety) Board, and in that role we have been an active and engaged party to the investigation.”