Kuala Lumpur, March 24: The Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing March 8 with 239 people on board ended in the southern Indian Ocean and there is no hope of any survivors, Malaysian authorities announced Monday.
Addressing a press conference here Monday, Prime Minister Najib Razak said that British investigators from its Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines “flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.
“They (AAIB representatives) informed me that Inmarsat, the UK company that provided the satellite data which indicated the northern and southern corridors, has been performing further calculations on the data. Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370′s flight path,” Razak said.
“Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth,” he added.
Stating that it was a remote location, far from any possible landing sites, Razak said: “It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”
The flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.
The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 226 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.
The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea
Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The passenger manifesto named the five Indians aboard as Vinod Koelkar, Chetana Koelkar, Swanand Koelkar, Chandrika Sharma and Kranti Shirsath.
Razak said Monday that another press conference would be held Tuesday in which further details would be shared.
“We share this information out of a commitment to openness and respect for the families, two principles which have guided this investigation,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines, in a statement to the relatives of all those on board, stated: “We deeply regret that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived… we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.”
The airline statement came after relatives of the Chinese passengers in Beijing were called to the second floor of the Lido Hotel for an emergency meeting, the South China Morning Post reported.
According to the report, paramedics attended the scene and screaming was heard from behind closed doors.
The report also said that relatives of passengers in Kuala Lumpur were likely to be flown to Perth, 2,500 km southwest of where the multinational search operation was now being concentrated.
In a message on its website, the Malaysia Airlines said that “our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues (the plane’s crew) at this enormously painful time”.
“We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We will continue to provide assistance and support to you, as we have done since MH370 first disappeared in the early hours of March 8, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.”
It, however, stated that the ongoing multinational search operation would continue, “as we seek answers to the questions which remain”.
“Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers,” it added.