Debris spotted in the south Indian Ocean is almost certainly wreckage from missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. Malaysia’s prime minister and the airline’s Group CEO have both issued statements saying new data and analysis shows the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, went down in a remote area of the ocean west of Perth.
The aircraft, with 239 people on board, went missing March 8 during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Ahmad Juahari issued a broadcast Monday saying, “We have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those onboard survived.”
Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak said at a press conference that further calculations and analysis performed by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch and UK satellite company Inmarsat on images and debris spotted by Australian surveillance aircraft was “able to shed more light” on where the aircraft was located. “Based on this, I have been advised by Inmarsat and AAIB that MH370 flew along the southern corridor [of the search area] and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth.
“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.”
The minister said that the type of analysis performed had “never before been used in this type of event.”
The BBC showed footage of a Royal Australian Air Force surveillance aircraft operating in the search area. An RAAF officer told a reporter that they had spotted a number of objects, including a rectangular object and a couple of cylindrical objects, one of them about two meters long.
Efforts will now focus on finding and retrieving as much of the aircraft and as many of the bodies as is possible. Given the location, this will be an extremely challenging and likely long operation. Simultaneously, the investigation will concentrate on trying to establish what happened to put a modern airliner so far off its flight path and, if deliberate sabotage was involved, how that was achieved.