According to new analysis of satellite data, the missing Malaysia Airlines plane plunged into the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has announced.
Relatives of MH370’s passengers and crew have been told the flight ended in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean, far from any landing sites. The announcement has effectively ended all hope for anguished loved ones, who have endured an agonising two weeks without answers.
Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur that a new analysis by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch and tracking firm Inmarsat had revealed that MH370’s last position was in the ocean west of Perth.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” he said. “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.”
He added that Malaysia Airlines had already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew to inform them of the latest development.
“For them the past few weeks have been heart-breaking. I know this news must be harder still,” he said.
Mr Razak said that British firm Inmarsat had employed “a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort”.
The new data revealed that MH370 flew along the southern corridor where investigators had said the plane could have travelled along, based on pings sent several hours after it disappeared on March 8.
Investigators had drawn up two huge search areas in two large arcs – a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia and a southern corridor extending down towards Antartica.
The missing plane has sparked an international hunt for any clues as to its whereabouts.
Police have considered hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board as possible lines of inquiries.
43-year-old Nikolai Brodskii, a Russian Jew and father of two, was one of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board the Beijing-bound plane that mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Malaysia early on Saturday 8th March.
Chabad emissaries in eastern Russia say the Jewish community of Irkutsk has been “hard hit” by the disappearance of Brodskii, who was described as “close to Judaism”. Brodskii was a professional diver returning from a diving holiday when the plane lost contact and disappeared midair in fine weather.
Rabbi Aharon Wagner, head of the Jewish community in the Siberian city, said he had discussed the halachic implications of Brotskii’s disappearance with Russia’s Chief Rabbi Bernard Lazar.
If the crash site is not located or his body is not found, rabbinic authorities will have to work to ensure his wife does not remain an aguna, a halachic status applying to women who wish to remarry but cannot.
Relatives of the flight’s passengers, many of whom have been staying at a hotel in Beijing as the search continued, reacted with despair to today’s news. Before now, many had spoken of their hope that the plane had been involved in a hijacking and landed safely.