The Malaysian government said on Monday that flight MH370 which went missing more than two weeks ago, had actually crashed in the Indian Ocean, with all 239 passengers and crew presumed dead.
The country’s prime minister, Najib Razak, said that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was spotted in the southern Indian Ocean and west of Australia’s outpost city of Perth, far away from its original route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The location was pinpointed by an aged satellite that does not have modern-day GPS capability, as the 30-day life of the battery transmitting a distress signal and powering the “black box” data recorder, was starting to fade.
Relatives of the missing passengers had received an SMS message from the airline that said “we have to assume beyond all reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and none of those on board survived.”
There were hysterical scenes at the Beijing hotel where many of the relatives of the 150 Chinese passengers were waiting for news.
The investigation has not been without its problems and tensions, as the Chinese government has been suggesting lack of information-sharing by the Malaysian authorities.
News reports suggested that an Australian navy ship was close to finding possible debris from the jetliner after a mounting number of sightings of floating objects that are believed to parts of the plane. The search site is about 2,500 km southwest of Perth, in icy sub-Arctic seas that are in one of the most remote parts of the planet.
Investigators believe that someone on the flight probably shut off the plane's communications systems when it first disappeared 17 days ago. Partial military radar tracking showed it turning west and re-crossing the Malay Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.
That has led many to speculate hijacking or sabotage, but investigators have not ruled out technical problems.
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