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After 327 days, Malaysia says MH370 disappearance was an accident

The announcement was made this morning to the dismay of victims’ families.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES HAVE made a major declaration in relation to the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing last March, ending the search for survivors.

In a statement this morning, the Director General of Civil Aviation in the country said it was “with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow” that the government was officially declaring MH370 “an accident” and that ”all 239 passengers and crew onboard are presumed to have lost their lives”.

The plane lost contact with air traffic control on 8 March 2014 and its disappearance has remained a mystery, despite extensive efforts by the Malaysian, Chinese and Australian authorities.

Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman thanked every country that provided support and assistance for their “generosity in a dark hour”.

Despite the declaration (which means the search is all but called off), Rahman said that underwater searches are still ongoing, adding that the governments of the three nations had “spared no expense and resources”.

“This has been done with the paramount aim to find the aircraft and to seek answers. It has been done in hope of bringing some solace to the families of the passengers and crew on board MH370, which we respectfully refer to as the next-of-kin,” he continued.

“We have endeavoured and pursued every credible lead and reviewed all available data. Despite all these efforts over the last 327 days, the search unfortunately has yet to yield the location of the missing aircraft.”

He later clarified that his government is committed to continue “all reasonable efforts” to bring closure to this “unfortunate tragedy”.

This declaration is by no means the end. We will forge ahead with the cooperation and assistance of the Governments of China and Australia. MH370, its passengers and its crew will always be remembered and honoured.

Four vessels, equipped with sonar technology, are currently searching the sea floor.

Authorities believe that MH370 got into trouble, exhausted its fuel and ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean. They say there is a defined area of the ocean in which the aircraft must be located.

“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,” explained the statement, with the DG going on to say that survivability in the area is “highly unlikely”.

Today’s declaration means compensation payouts to family members of the victims can begin.

“The Government of Malaysia acknowledges that this declaration of the MH370 accident will be very difficult for the families and loved ones of the 227 passengers and 12 crew on
board to consider, much less accept,” continued Rahman.

Thirteen nations have also lost sons and daughters to this tragedy. It is nonetheless important that families try to resume normal lives, or as normal a life as may be possible after this sudden loss.

“Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process.”

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