Malaysia has officially declared that the disappearance of flight MH370 was an “accident” and that all passengers and crew on board have been presumed dead. The televised announcement, made by the Department of Civil Aviation at 6:00 p.m. local time, clears the way for Malaysia Airlines to proceed with the compensation process for the next-of-kin of the passengers on the flight.
…[W]e have concluded that the aircraft exhausted its fuel over a defined area of the southern Indian Ocean, and that the aircraft is located on the sea floor close to that defined area. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is also an area with adverse sea conditions with known depths of more than 6,000 metres.
[…] After 327 days (as of 28 Jan15) and based on all available data as well as circumstances mentioned earlier, survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely.
[…] It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Chicago Convention and that all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.
The full statement can be found here.
Authorities were originally meant to make the announcement during a news conference this afternoon for invited members of the media, but called it off when next-of-kin rushed the venue, according to The Guardian. Several family members of passengers arrived at the briefing location at the headquarters of the Department of Civil Aviation and were “furious about not being briefed before the news conference”.
The Boeing 77 aircraft went missing on March 8 last year, shortly after it took off from Kuala Lumpur towards Beijing with 239 passengers and crew members onboard.
“This declaration is by no means the end,” DCA director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in the statement. He added that the search for the plane will continue.