The disappearance of flight MH370 has been declared an “accident” by the Malaysian government.
The announcement was made in a televised broadcast on Thursday by the director-general Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
“It’s with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident,” Rahman said, adding that “all 239 of the passengers and crew… are presumed to have lost their lives”.
“We… pursued every credible lead and reviewed all available data. Despite all these efforts over the last 327 days, the search unfortunately has yet to yield the location of the missing aircraft,” he said.
Flight MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared on 8 March 2014. There has been no sign of the aircraft, its passengers or cargo since the incident, although the Boeing 777 aircraft is believed to have crashed in a remote part of the Indian Ocean.
Malaysia Airlines said that following today’s announcement, the company would be contacting the families of the victims “to proceed with the compensation process”.
“The airline remains steadfast to ensure that fair and reasonable compensation is paid to the families of all MH370 passengers in accordance with the applicable laws.
“As has been the case since the beginning of the crisis, Malaysia Airlines continues to provide assistance to the families of the passengers and crew. We understand this is an especially distressing time for all of them,” the national carrier said.
A multinational search team is still scouring the Indian Ocean for the missing aircraft.