China Malaysia MH370 Missing Plane Australia Suicide Accident
A family member of a passenger on board Malaysia Airlines MH370 cries as he shouts slogans during a protest in front of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing Reuters

Grief-stricken loved ones of passengers on missing flight MH370 have accused the authorities of "a giant cover-up" after they admitted the plane is not in the southern Indian Ocean.

Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood was among the 239 people on board, said the latest revelation was "consistent with the tangled mess that is this supposed investigation.

"The superpowers have been inordinately quiet. The information that is released is manipulated."

However she admitted the admission gave her and other relatives reason to hope.

"If they'd found the hull of the plane under the water then our loved ones would be dead for sure ... [but] most family members are not willing to accept that", she told Sky News.

"They believe something else has happened to the plane, so this is validation for them that keeping their hopes alive is not crazy."

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the southern Indian Ocean could now be "discounted as the final resting place of MH370", after admitting the 'pings' detected were not from the crash site after all and they could even have come from the search vessel itself.

Pralhad Shirsath, whose wife Kranti was on board the missing flight, told The Malay Mail Online that the cover-up was demonstrated by several factors, including initial search and rescue delays, missing information from the preliminary report and "delayed release of manipulated and incomplete Inmarsat data."

He alleged that the search in the southern Indian Ocean was to distract the families and the media from the truth.

"It is obvious that when a search is going on in middle of ocean no families or media will go there to see. This is a perfectly planned disappearance of MH370 and cover up by involved countries."

'We don't know where to turn'

Steve Wang, whose 57-year-old mother was on board the ill-fated flight, said: "We all feel quite helpless, we don't know who to turn to now.

"When [Australian Prime Minister] Tony Abbott told the world about the conclusion of the location of the search operation, he was really certain. Now it's not the case at all.

"What evidence brought him to this conclusion is the question we've been asking all along. What has Boeing done to support this initial conclusion in association with the detection of the pulse signal? Was it Boeing's conclusion or Australia's?"

Those presiding over the investigation have confirmed that all existing information and data will be re-examined, and the whole of the 23,000 sq m southern area will be looked at again.

Malaysia's acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, who has pledged greater ties with China, has reassured that the country will not give up its ongoing efforts to locate the missing MH370.

"On behalf of my family, the Malaysian government and its people, the search will continue. I am still in touch with families of some of the passengers. I have assured all the family members that I will not let up," he said.