Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Crashed Into Ocean, Prime Minister Tells Families, And There Were No Survivors

On Monday, some of the relatives of the 239 passengers onboard the missing Flight 370 received a text message confirming their worst fears: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had crashed into the ocean, according to Malaysia's prime minister, Najib Razak. "Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived," the text message read. "As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia's Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean."

The relatives who were available to attend the conference heard the same statement from Razak minutes later. In a press conference at 10 a.m. ET, following the 17th day of searching for the missing jet, Razak explained that new data confirmed that the path Flight 370 took was along the southern corridor, and the plane's last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Because the area was so remote and so far from any landing destinations, Razak continued, it must be assumed that it crashed in the vicinity.

"It is therefore with deep sadness and regret I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean," Razak said. He went on to say that the text message and the press conference were made at the earliest possible juncture, indicative of the Malaysian authorities' commitment to transparency throughout the whole investigation.

Which begs the question: Why are Malaysia authorities so sure now? The missing aircraft has still not been located. An Australian search plane has spotted two objects in the south Indian Ocean which could be debris from the jet. One of the objects is described as grey or green and circular, and the other as orange and rectangular. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has said that Australian navy supply ship the HMAS Success is attempting to locate the objects so that they can be identified.

A few hours earlier, a Chinese aircraft had spotted several objects in the same part of the search area, but a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft was unable to locate them. There are now 10 aircrafts taking part in the search off the west coast of Perth. The U.S. Navy has also brought in a Towed Pinger Locator to the region — a device that is dragged behind a vessel and can hear pings from black boxes all the way down to a depth of 20,000 feet.

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Toward the end of the day Monday, the AMSA Tweeted that the last aircraft had departed the search area without any further sightings. However, HMAS Success is continuing to search in the area. John Young, the General Manager of AMSA's Emergency Response Division, said in his end-of-day report that re-location is proving particularly difficult, partly because of poor visibility caused by the weather and because the search areas are so far apart.

The search area is one of the remotest stretches of water on earth, and it takes four hours for the aircraft to reach the zone from Perth. This leaves them with a limited amount of search time before they are forced to return to refuel.

After the press conference, Malaysia Airlines released a statement.

It is with deep sadness that Malaysia Airlines earlier this evening had to confirm to the families of those on board Flight MH370 that it must now be assumed the flight had been lost. As the Prime Minister said, respect for the families is essential at this difficult time. And it is in that spirit that we informed the majority of the families in advance of the Prime Minister’s statement in person and by telephone. SMSs were used only as an additional means of communicating with the families. Those families have been at the heart of every action the company has taken since the flight disappeared on 8th March and they will continue to be so. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area and until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation.