Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight: Flight ended in southern Indian Ocean, no survivors

Kuala Lumpur: The that went missing shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 with 239 people on board ended in the southern Indian Ocean and there is no hope of any survivors, Malaysian authorities announced on Monday.

This picture taken on March 24, 2014 shows co-pilot, flying officer Marc Smith and crew of an RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft at low level in bad weather searching for missing Malaysia Airways flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean. Pic: AFP 

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 am the same day. The 226 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 am 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.

The search operation was initially focused on the South China Sea, on the scheduled route of the flight.

However, it was later believed that flight was diverted back and the multinational search operation, which included India, was expanded to the Gulf of Thailand, the Strait of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

Investigators finally said that the missing jet could have taken either of two airline routes - one to the north from the north of Thailand to Kazakhstan and another to the south covering a zone from the Indian Ocean to Australia.

The search operation finally focused on an area in the southern Indian Ocean 2,500 km southwest of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) finally took over the coordination of the multinational search operation. Satellite images then showed objects in the search area possibly linked to the missing airliner.

On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that two new objects that could be debris of the missing Malaysian airliner have been spotted by searchers in the southern Indian Ocean area.

"The crew on board the Orion reported seeing two objects, the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object," Abbott said while addressing parliament.

The new objects were different from those spotted by a Chinese search aircraft earlier Monday in the area as reported by Xinhua.

Malaysia's acting Transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a press conference that the Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Success was in the vicinity and it was possible that the objects could be retrieved "within the next few hours, or by tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at the latest".

Razak said Monday that another press conference would be held Tuesday in which further details would be shared.

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."

In a message on its website, the 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.

According to another report from London Monday, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be questioning the wife of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who commanded the missing Malaysian airliner, amid growing suspicions that he may have hijacked the flight.

Faizah Khan, a mother of three, will face questioning in an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Daily Mirror reported.

American intelligence, along with Malaysian police, are still looking into the backgrounds of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.

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