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Thursday, October 27, 2016

By Barbara Demick and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times

BEIJING — A grim-faced Malaysian prime minister had an emergency late-night news conference Monday, saying that the long-missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean” with no hope of survivors.

Najib Razak said his conclusion was based on new data from the British satellite company Inmarsat, identifying the last known location of the flight as southwest of Perth, Australia.

“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 MH 370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” he said delivering his brief statement at the news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Families of the passengers had been gathered together in Kuala Lumpur and in Beijing ahead of the news conference, and there were unconfirmed reports that families had been offered a charter flight to Australia.

In Beijing, paramedics rushed to the Lido Hotel to help family members who might be overcome with grief.

Until the end, some held out faint hope that the flight, which disappeared March 8 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, might have been hijacked, with the passengers being held somewhere for ransom.

The hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight had intensified Monday as search crews reported more sightings of possible debris in the south Indian Ocean, including two objects that could be retrieved soon by an Australian vessel.

Malaysia’s defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said that a search aircraft had located two objects and that an Australian vessel, the Success, was in the vicinity.

“It is possible that the objects could be received within the next few hours, or by tomorrow morning at the latest,” he said during a Monday evening news conference. Hishammuddin said that only a few minutes ago Australia’s prime minister had informed the prime minister of Malaysia about the development.

If retrieved, the two objects — one described as circular colored gray or green, and the other rectangular and orange — would be the first to be found in this remote section of the Indian Ocean about 1,500 miles off the coast of southwest Australia since searchers began focusing on this area Thursday. And they could provide the first physical evidence of the plane that vanished March 8, with 239 passengers and crew on board.

In recent days there has been a growing number of satellite and aircraft sightings of objects in this area that could be wreckage from the missing jetliner.

On Monday, with Chinese and Japanese joining an Australian-led team of American and New Zealand planes, 10 military and commercial aircraft in all combed an area of about 20,000 square nautical miles in the south Indian Ocean looking for traces of Flight 370.

Earlier in the day, one of the two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft involved in the search reported seeing “two big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometers,” according to the official New China News Agency.

After the sighting was reported, the U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon plane sought to relocate the objects but was unable to do so, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. A Chinese vessel was steaming toward the area to investigate and was expected to arrive in the area by Tuesday morning, the news agency said.

AFP Photo/ Ted Aljibe

  • Honor2

    This is such a sad ending for all–hopefully the families will be able to find some closure now. May all those who were on board rest in peace.

  • CherMoe

    How can this guy stand there and definitively tell the families and the world that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean when they have YET to retrieve ANY part of the plane or the black box?? I think this is CRUEL and inhumane to report this prematurely. The more I hear about this thing, the more I think this is one huge cover-up and THIS is the “official story” they are putting out to get the families off their backs. I still think there is corporate sabotage going on here, with at least 20 members of one particular company on board. Follow the money. Who stands to GAIN and who stands to lose?

    With what we’ve been told so far, if any of it is to be believed, this plane was DEFINITELY hijacked by someone. But the reasons may be a lot different than people think. Too many governments lie and participate in cover-ups.

    • Sandy99

      Just stop, it is over. Have you seen the relatives of that flight, almost convulsed in fear and grief and uncertainty? We should not add to it. GDmt — accidents sometimes do happen and everything is not a conspiracy or a nefarious plot.

      • ProRealLife


    • RobertCHastings

      By whom was it hijacked, and to what purpose. Industrial espionage simply because twenty employees from one company were on board? It was NOT a tourist flight, and the vast majority were Chinese nationals, something one finds when a company plans a conference outside their country. Were they all high-ranking industrialists or government officials? There is, as yet, no indication of that. So, once again, to what purpose? Governments OTHER than that of Malaysia have been deeply involved in this investigation, establishing some basic facts that make it very unlikely this was a hijacking: the flight path takes it to a part of the world where there is NO PLACE TO LAND. Conspiracy theories still abound regarding President Kennedy, and they are all based upon a simple failure to accept reality.

    • ProRealLife

      Please stop with the conspiracy theories. Last week, a pilot with over 20,000 flight miles told us that because this particular pilot also had years of experience, the ONLY reason it would travel up over 40,000 feet into the air is to extinguish flames, either due to landing gear (most likely) or engine fire. Had it been hijacked, they would have simply flown UNDER the radar. The plane crashed, due to a mechanical error. Let’s move on.

      • RON Allen

        A Boeing 777 would practically have to be hit by a missile for all it’s fire & electrical systems to fail or had to be repeatedly hit by lightening for a fire so out of control it takes over the plane. The 777 has the best safety record of just about any other commercial plane. Most of the shutting down of systems & the plane change in direction was done by the pilots. Rolls Royce can monitor it’s engines, there was no reported engine failure or problems. The plane flew another 7 hours after last contact. But the real mystery & reason for the crash will only be solved after they locate the plane. All the rest is pure speculation & theory.

  • Amy Dyer McCullough

    I pray for the families may have peace and may someday soon have some closure. May the Lord be with all.