Beijing: Relatives shrieked and sobbed uncontrollably. Men and women nearly collapsed, held up by loved ones.
Their grief came pouring out after 17 days of waiting for definitive word on the fate of the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak gave that word late on Monday in a televised announcement from Kuala Lumpur, saying there was no longer any doubt that Flight 370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean.
Relatives of passengers in Beijing had been called to a hotel near the airport to hear the news, and some 50 of them gathered there. Afterward, they filed out of a conference room in heart-wrenching grief.
One woman collapsed and fell on her knees, crying, "My son! My son!"
Medical teams arrived at the Lido hotel with several stretchers and one elderly man was carried out of the conference room on one of them, his face covered by a jacket. Minutes later, a middle-aged woman was taken out on another stretcher, her face ashen and her blank eyes seemingly staring off into a distance.
Most of them refused to speak to gathered reporters and some of them lashed out in anger, urging journalists not to film the scene. Security guards restrained a man with close-cropped hair as he kicked a TV cameraman and shouted, "Don't film. I'll beat you to death!"
Wang Zhen, whose father and mother, Wang Linshi and Xiong Yunming, were aboard the flight as part of a group of Chinese artists touring Malaysia, heard the announcement on television from another hotel where he had been staying.
He said some of the relatives had received a text message in English from the airliner advising of the findings to be announced in a late-night news conference by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Najib said an unprecedented analysis of satellite data concluded that the flight, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people aboard while on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, must have ended in the sea far from any possible landing site.