Malaysian PM says missing jetliner crashes in Indian Ocean as search intensified

From: Xinhua Updated: 2014-03-25 11:06
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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 24, 2014. New analysis of statellite data suggested that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 "ended" in the southern Indian Ocean, said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Monday.(Xinhua/Wang Shen)

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Xinhua) -- New analysis of satellite data suggested that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Monday.

Najib released the sad news at a hastily-convened press conference in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia.

The prime minister said the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Inmarsat, the UK company that provided the satellite data, have concluded that "the missing jetliner flew along the southern corridor," and its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia.

He also said the type of analysis used to investigate the mystery of the jetliner has never been used before.

"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites," said Najib, adding that more details will be announced at a press briefing Tuesday morning.

The families of those aboard were also called into a meeting to hear the news.

In a text message sent to the families before Najib announced the news, Malaysia Airlines said "MH370 has been lost and none of those on board survived."

Screaming and crying were coming from a room in a Beijing hotel where families of the passengers onboard gathered and a significant number of stretchers were rushed to them.

Search for the missing jet continued on Monday in the vast Indian Ocean.

Both Chinese and Australian planes spotted some suspicious objects in the southern Indian Ocean in search for the missing plane, but whether the objects were related to the missing jet had not been confirmed.

The crew aboard a Chinese IL-76 plane saw two relatively big floating objects with many small white ones scattered within a radius of several kilometers.

The searchers then relayed the information to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), asking the Australian side to send other planes to the area of interest for further examination while making their way back to the air base.

However, a U.S. P-8 aircraft was unable to locate the suspicious objects that the Chinese planes have spotted, AMSA said in a tweet.

Later on Monday, an Australian aircraft spotted two objects in the ocean, different from those found by a Chinese plane earlier, and they can be retrieved within hours or around early Tuesday at the latest.

"The crew on board the P-3 Orion reported seeing two objects, the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object," Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the parliament on Monday.

Abbott said Australia did not know whether any of these objects in the southern Indian Ocean were from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. "They could be flotsam," he said.

A total of 10 aircraft joined Monday's search for MH370 whose whereabouts has remained unknown since it vanished on March 8 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 people.

The search has zeroed in on two areas of 59,000 square km to 68,500 square km respectively.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Pacific Command has ordered the Pacific Fleet to move a black box locator into the region, according to a U.S. Navy statement released on Sunday.

In the statement, the U.S. Navy stressed that the deployment of the locator, namely the Towed Pinger Locator 25 (TPL-25), was only a "precautionary measure in case a debris field is located."

The French Foreign Ministry also said on Sunday that France will mobilize further satellite means to help find the missing MH370 after its satellite images showed "floating debris" in the southern Indian Ocean.

The announcement reduced some mystery shrouded around the missing plane but the exact location of the plane requires further search.

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