It has been “concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that it’s last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said at a press conference.
New satellite data shows that the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 plunged into the southern Indian Ocean.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. 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,” Razak said.
Malaysia Airlines said in a text message to Chinese families that there were no survivors.
“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,” the airline said in the text message.
The airline said in a statement: ”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. The ongoing multinational search operation will 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.”
The prime minister’s statement comes after a Chinese plane spotted “some suspicious objects” in the broad area where satellite images have indicated possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but a high-tech U.S. military search plane which responded to the area Monday was able to find nothing.
Hours later, officials said the crew of an Australian Air Force plane had seen two objects floating elsewhere in the Indian Ocean search area.
“Objects have been located by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion,” said a written statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). The statement said an Australian military ship “is on scene and is attempting to locate the objects,” described as “a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object.”
Earlier Monday, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency first reported that the Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft’s crew had spotted two objects — said to be “relatively big” and scattered over about two square miles of sea — and communicated their location to the Australian command center leading the Indian Ocean search, and to a Chinese ice breaker ship en route to the area.
Speaking to the Reuters news agency several hours later, an AMSA spokesperson said a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft was sent to investigate the Chinese reports, but the “P-8 was unable to relocate the reported objects.”
According to AMSA, the items seen by the Australian flight crew were “separate to the objects reported by the Chinese Ilyushin.”
Both flight crews reported seeing objects in the remote patch of ocean, about 1,500 miles southwest of Australia’s west coast, where large pieces of possible debris from the Boeing 777 have been seen on satellite images. Search planes have scanned the area for days without any luck locating the floating objects.
Rain was expected to hamper the hunt Monday for debris suspected of being from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, as the United States prepared to move a specialized device that can locate black boxes into the south Indian Ocean region.
The U.S. Pacific command said it was sending a black box locator in case a debris field is located. The Towed Pinger Locator, which is pulled behind a vessel at slow speeds, has highly sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, it can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 20,000 feet, Cmdr. Chris Budde, a U.S. Seventh Fleet operations officer, said in a statement.
“This movement is simply a prudent effort to preposition equipment and trained personnel closer to the search area so that if debris is found we will be able to respond as quickly as possible since the battery life of the black box’s pinger is limited,” Budde said.
There was no sign the move was because of any break in the mystery of the plane that went missing March 8 with 239 people on board, but rather as a preparation.