“We deeply regret that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived,” read a text message sent on Monday to families of the 239 people on the missing jet. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak followed up in a press conference to explain that the flight has been tracked to “a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” west of Perth, Australia. “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.”
Possible debris spotted over the weekend by Chinese and Australian satellites have not yet been confirmed to be part of a crash site.
Razak’s statement came from satellite data provided by Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). “Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path,” he said, promising more details on Tuesday.
After being told to abandon all hope, family members in the room could only react with intense grief:
One relative breaking down in front of the media, saying she is completely desperate, devastated MH370 Beijing— malcolmmoore (@MalcolmMoore) March 24, 2014
Relatives have learnt the news and are wailing openly at the Lido Hotel, some unable to walk. Medical staff still bringing in stretchers— Philip Wen (@PhilipWen11) March 24, 2014
The full statement:
Released at 10.15pm/24 Mar 2014
Note: The communication below was shared with the family members of passengers and crew of MH370
Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, new analysis of satellite data suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.
On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.
We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We will continue to provide assistance and support to you, as we have done since MH370 first disappeared in the early hours of 8 March, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain. Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers.
We would like to assure you that Malaysia Airlines will continue to give you our full support throughout the difficult weeks and months ahead.
Once again, we humbly offer our sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.
Update: Malaysia Airlines has released an additional statement explaining "SMSs were used only as an additional means of communicating with the families."