Malaysian authorities have officially declared the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident, and the search for survivors has been abandoned.
After over 300 days of searching, the Boeing 777 has yet to be located. It disappeared while travelling between Kuala Lumpar and Beijing in March 2014 with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board. Its last known position was between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Various conspiracy theories involving sabotage, hijacking and military action have been proposed for the disappearance of the plane.
“There is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident,” said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia.
“Survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely. It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident, and that all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.”
As a result of Rahman’s statement, it is now possible for relatives to claim compensation. This is anticipated to involve a payment of $180,000 per victim from Malaysia Airlines.
Some relatives have staged a protest in Beijing, demanding that the search for survivors continues. The search for the plane will continue, and Malaysia continues to cooperate with China and Australia to bring closure to the tragedy, says Rahman.
So far over 160 ships and plans have been involved in the search for the plane as well as experts from 25 countries. The vessels Go Phoenix, Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator and Fugro Supporter are continuing the underwater search using sonar equipment.
To date, the search has covered over 18,600 square kilometers, about 30 percent of the priority area.
When Air France flight 447 crashed in 2009 it took two years before the wreckage was located. Australian and Malaysian authorities have committed to continuing the search until the plane is found.
Picture (above) source: Twitter