On 8th March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, enroute to Beijing, China with 239 passengers and crew onboard went missing. It was reported to have last made contact with air traffic control at 1:19am, less than an hour after takeoff. The aircraft disappeared from air traffic controllers’ radar at 1:21am.
A massive search mission was conducted with several countries taking part led by Australia.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed on 24th March that the ill-fated MH370 “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean. The conclusion was made after searches used a new form of data analysis – never used before in a search for a missing plane to determine that the plan was lost in a remote area of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia.
Since then, the operation shifted its focus on underwater search in a 60,000 square kilometre priority area in the Southern Indian Ocean, coordinated by the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre.
However, earlier this morning, it was confirmed that the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) was to hold a press conference to update on the MH370 tragedy at 3:30pm at the DCA headquarters in Putrajaya. But alas, it was called off after being delayed for an hour. The Star reported that the press conference was called off because of the presence of the next of kin.
In a statement, the DCA said that the briefing was for the media only and that separate arrangements had been made to communicate with the next of kin. “Due to the presence of next-of-kin at the briefing, it was not appropriate to continue and the briefing was cancelled,” said the DCA. Following which, arrangements were made for the DCA Director General to record the statement, which was aired by RTM at 6pm.
During the pre-recorded statement, the DCA officially declared Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH370 an accident in accordance with Chicago convention and all 239 passengers and crew on board are presumed to have lost their lives.
He also stated:
The Government of Malaysia acknowledges that this declaration of the MH370 accident will be very difficult for the families and loved ones of the 227 passengers and 12 crew on board to consider, much less accept. Thirteen nations have also lost sons and daughters to this tragedy. It is nonetheless important that families try to resume normal lives, or as normal a life as may be possible after this sudden loss. Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process.
Read the full statement from the press conference here. Interim statement will be released on or around the one year anniversary (8th March) of the incident.
Meanwhile, the underwater search for MH370 is still ongoing at this time and the exercise is currently being performed by 4 vessels, namely the Go Phoenix, Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator and Fugro Supporter. To date, the search has covered over 18,600 square kilometres (as of 28th Jan 2015).