UPDATE: THE MALAYSIAN Prime Minister has announced to the world that new data has concluded missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 passengers and crew on board, including six Australians.
Speaking at an unexpected press conference late on Monday night, Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters more light had been shed on the jetliner’s flight path, indicating the plane flew along the southern corridor and “ended in the middle of the Indian Ocean”.
“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,” he told reporters at an unexpected press conference at 10pm Malaysian time (01:00am AEDT).
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He said the company which provided the initial satellite data and highlighted the possible northern and southern search corridors had conducted “further calculations” on the data which concluded the Boeing-777’s last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, “west of Perth”.
“Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path,” he said.
“Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB 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. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites.”
Malaysia Airlines briefed the families of the passengers and crew prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement.
“We deeply regret that we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Malaysia Airlines said.
“On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.
“We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We humbly offer our sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.”
One relative was stretchered into the back of an awaiting ambulance after fainting while watching the overwhelming announcement from Beijing.
The Malaysian Prime Minister is expected to hold a more in depth press conference today.
UPDATE: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has tonight confirmed an Australian aircraft today found two new objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean, 2500km south-west of Perth, while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The objects were located around 2.45pm (AEDT) by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion, with the search crew reporting seeing two objects – the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object.
HMAS Success is on scene attempting to locate the objects which officials hope will be retrieved within the next few hours.
The latest sightings are separate to those reported by the Chinese earlier on Monday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the latest developments in Parliament on Monday night, however stressed that the objects were yet to be identified and may not be from MH370, saying “they could be flotsam”.
The US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft remains in the search area after failing to locate objects reported by the Chinese, while a second RAAF P3 and a Japanese P3 are en-route to their assigned search areas.
The AMSA said the last of these aircraft will depart the search area about 11pm (AEDT).
EARLIER: A CHINESE military plane has reportedly located suspicious objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean as the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the 239 passengers and crew on board enters its sixteenth day.
It’s understood the white and “square shaped” objects were spotted by searchers on board the Chinese Air Force IL-76 aircraft today after taking off from RAAF Base Pearce in Perth early on Monday morning.
“Searchers aboard IL-76 saw two big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometers,” China Xinhua News tweeted.
The Chinese aircraft was heading back to the search headquarters in Perth when the objects were spotted and has asked Australian officials to deploy additional aircraft to the area of interest.
An United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft sought to relocate the objects, however were unable to do so.
The latest development comes after Australian searchers say they spotted a wooden pallet and straps in the search zone approximately 2,500km southwest of Perth on Saturday.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced last Thursday that commercial satellite imagery had identified two large objects, surrounded by smaller objects, floating in the southern Indian Ocean that could have been possible debris from the missing passenger jet.
China and France also released satellite imagery over the weekend, showing similar objects in the same region.
The United States Navy said they will be sending a black box locator, known as a Towed Pinger Locator, to the search zone where it would be ready for deployment in case sightings confirmed the location of the Boeing-777.
More than 10 aircraft have since joined the search in the southern hemisphere, including four military P3 Orion’s and four non-military jets from Australia, Two IL-76 planes from China, two Japanese P3 Orion’s and a P8 Poseidon from the US.
The jetliner vanished from civilian radar on March 8, almost an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing.
Six Australian’s were on board, including two four Queenslander’s and a couple from Sydney.