Malaysia’s prime minister held a press conference today to positively affirm what most have concluded over the last several days — that Flight 370 was lost at sea in the Indian ocean, and that there are no survivors from the flight. The government of Malaysia offered the press conference as a way to get ahead of the rumor mill:
New satellite data revealed that missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 “ended” in the south Indian Ocean, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said today.
“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 at a news conference.
However, prior to the press conference, Malaysia Air chose a rather odd way to inform the families:
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 24, 2014
The families of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines jet have been sent text messages telling them that the plane been “lost.”
“We have to assume beyond reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived,” the message said. “We must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean.”
Katie Harbath asked on Twitter, “This can’t seriously be what the airline sent the families[?]” Apparently so, although the airline had called an emergency meeting in Beijing to discuss it with the families — complete with paramedics on hand:
Shortly before Razak’s announcement, relatives of the passengers were booked on charter flights to take them to Australia, sources told Sky News. An emergency meeting between families and Malaysia Airlines officials took place in Beijing, Razak said. Paramedics were on scene there, according to Sky News.
“For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I know this news must be harder still,” Razak said.
The government has determined that the last known position of Flight 370 was over the southern Indian ocean near Perth, although an explanation of that conclusion has not yet been offered. Several days ago, the search efforts started concentrating in that area, which suggested at the time that investigators had found more data to track the plane’s course. The discovery of debris by Chinese and Australian planes has apparently given enough confirmation to Malaysia’s government to declare that they are no longer operating in rescue mode.
Razak credited a new analysis of satellite data for reaching the conclusion:
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak says new analysis of satellite data in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 indicates that the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.
The analysis was provided by British satellite company Inmarsat and UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Razak said.
“Based on their new analysis….MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth,” Razak said Monday. “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 that flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”
That may answer the question of what. It still doesn’t answer the question of why, and unless the black box is found, we may never know that answer. With the plane so far off course and no particular reason for it being so, though, the possibilities of catastrophic failure and disaster look at least a little more likely than deliberate action.