Malaysia’s prime minister says new analysis of satellite data shows that missing Malaysia Airlines “Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”
Najib Razak announced the news with “deep sadness and regret” late Monday night (local time) and said further details will be discussed at a news conference on Tuesday.
Satellite analysis from British company Inmarsat show the jetliner was last seen in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” Razak said.
The airline has also informed the passengers’ families, he also said.
“For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I know this news must be harder still,” Razak said.
Before the news conference, the airline sent a text message to the family members of those aboard the flight, which disappeared on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, saying there were no survivors.
“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 … we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean,” the text read.
In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said that “our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.”
In Beijing, family members gathered at a hotel near the airport to hear the news conference.
One woman collapsed and fell on her knees, crying “My son! My son!”
“We accept the news of the tragedy. It is fate,” Selamat Omar, the father of a 29-year-old aviation engineer who was on the flight, told The Associated Press.
Teams from 26 countries nations contributed their aircraft and ships to the search effort.
Earlier in the day, Chinese and Australian planes spotted several objects in an area identified by multiple satellite images as containing possible debris from the missing airliner. One ship is also carrying equipment to detect the plane’s black box.
The objects have been described as a “grey or green circular object” and an “orange rectangular object,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday.
The flight disappeared shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 crew members and passengers, including two Canadians.
With files from The Associated Press