Malaysian authorities have finally confirmed that the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 has been "lost" and all 239 passengers and crew members onboard are "assumed dead".
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a news conference, citing various data and satellite analysis from a British company, that MH370's journey "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". He said that the last known position of the missing plane was in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Razak expressed "deep sadness and regret" while informing the news to the family members.
"It is with deep sadness and regret, that according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean," Razak told reporters.
The statement from the Malaysian PM essentially negates any hope of finding the 239 people onboard the missing plane alive, various media sources have said.
On Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sir Md Nor Md Yusof confirmed to Prime Minister's conclusion that all 239 people on board perished following evidence of the Crash.
"He (Najib) has given very credible leads that would point to where the plane ended...that position is very far away, very remote...and after 17 days, we could only bring ourselves to this certain conclusion," he told reporters at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The announcement by Razak appears to have been based solely on tracking data, supplied by Inmarsat, a company that tracts satellite, and not from sightings of debris in the ocean, BBC News noted.
The firms "have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth," Mr Razak said.
"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."
Mr Razak also appealed to the media to respect the privacy of the families of the passengers and crew.
Television footages showed Chinese family members wailing and crying after the news was announced in a Beijing meeting. Reports suggest that some of them collapsed on floor as the announcement was made.
This comes after satellite images from France, China and Australia found floating objects, possibly belonging to a plane, in the southern Indian Ocean. Chinese and Australian jet searchers also saw the objects over the ocean.
"Malaysia airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia's Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the South Indian Ocean," an SMS message sent to relatives said earlier.
Crew members aboard a Chinese search plane had spotted some "suspicious" objects in the southern Indian Ocean on Monday, while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight off Australia.
"The crew has reported the coordinates -95.1113 degrees east longitude and 42.5453 south altitude - to the Australian command center as well as Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which was also part of the search mission and has already changed its course toward the latest sighting," Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency said.
The agency reported, citing a correspondent aboard the IL-76 aircraft, that the search team saw two relatively big floating objects, with many other white smaller ones scattered, within a radius of several kilometers.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot had also said that an Australian plane spotted two objects during the hunt for the missing Malaysia plane.
A ship was also understood to be in the southern Indian Ocean to investigate it. One object looked circular and grey, while the other was rectangular and orange, Abbott said, adding that it is not known if the objects were from flight MH370.
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishmmudin had said that the objects could be recovered in the next few hours. But the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said in a tweet moments later that the last aircraft has departed the search scene without any further sightings.
MH370 Fact File
The wide-body jet, carrying 239 people onboard, was reported to have vanished from the civilian air-traffic control radar in the wee hours of Saturday 8 March, only about an hour into its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
While the inability to solve the puzzle surrounding the bizarre disappearance of the plane has become a breeding ground for uncanny theories and explanations doing their rounds on the Internet, the event has prompted a massive international air and water search, which so far had not produced any tangible results.
Even as 26 nations were involved in a massive search, none of the sources have been able to tell how the ill-fated flight landed up in the southern Indian Ocean in the first place.
Authorities have also not been able to confirm if the jet was hijacked. The circumstances in which the plane simply disappeared have been called as the 'biggest mystery' in the history of Aviation industry.