The Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared over two weeks ago crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Monday.
New satellite analysis from Britain had shown that Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, was last seen in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia, he said in a statement.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” Najib 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.”
Najib added that the families of those on board have been informed of the developments.
His comments came even as an Australian navy ship was close to finding possible debris from the jetliner after a mounting number of sightings of floating objects that are believed to be parts of the plane.
The objects, described as a “grey or green circular object” and an “orange rectangular object,” were spotted on Monday afternoon, said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, adding that three planes were also en route to the area. Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8.
No confirmed sighting of the plane has been made since and there is no clue what went wrong.
Over 150 of the passengers on board the missing plane were Chinese. In a further sign the search was bearing fruit, the US Navy was flying in its high-tech black box detector to the area. The black boxes — the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder — record what happen on board planes in flight.
At crash sites, finding the black boxes soon is crucial because the locator beacons they carry fade out after 30 days.
An Australian navy ship was close to finding possible debris from a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner on Monday as a mounting number of sightings of floating objects raised hopes wreckage of the plane may soon be found.