Malaysian Prime Minister Says Missing Plane "Ended" in Ocean

2 years 11 months 4 weeks ago March 24, 2014 Mar 24, 2014 Monday, March 24 2014 Monday, March 24, 2014 8:30:34 AM CDT in News
By: Henry Austin and Alexander Smith, NBC News Reporters

MALAYSIA (NBC) - New satellite data analysis has showed that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysia's prime minister told a news conference on Monday.

Najib Razak said flight data suggested that the Boeing 777's "last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, [Australia]."

He added: "This is a remote location, far from any possible landing site. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that according to this data the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

The prime minister said that his announcement was based on data analyzed by the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch and satellite firm Inmarsat.

He said the British agency and Inmarsat had been "performing further calculations on the data, using a type of analysis, never before used in an investigation of this sort."

"Malaysia Airlines have already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew to inform them of this development," the prime minister added. "For them the past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I know this news must be harder still."

Earlier, the families of Flight 370's passengers were sent text messages by the airline telling them that the plane been "lost and that none of those aboard have survived."

After more than two weeks of mystery and speculation, the prime minister's announcement was the first confirmation of the fate of the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8.

Flight MH370 disappeared from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 people on board.

Attention and resources in the search for the Boeing 777 have shifted from an initial focus north of the equator to an increasingly narrowed stretch of rough sea, thousands of miles from the plane's original flight path.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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