ANGRY relatives of people missing on Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 held members of the carrier's staff for more than 10 hours in a Beijing hotel.

More than 200 family members held 10 Malaysian Airlines staff after a briefing at a Beijing hotel, releasing them early yesterday.

The jetliner vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Many passengers were Chinese and their relatives have grown frustrated with the failure to find the plane.

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"Malaysia Airlines confirms that its staff were held at the Lido Hotel ballroom in Beijing by the family members of MH370 as the families expressed dissatisfaction in obtaining details of the missing aircraft," an airline spokesman said.

A Chinese family member had attacked a Malaysian Airlines security supervisor at the same hotel on Tuesday, causing a minor injury and leading the airline to file a police report.

The search for the missing airliner is likely to drag on for years, a senior US defence official said yesterday after an underwater search off west Australia appeared to have failed.