The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been officially declared an “accident” and the search for survivors has been called off, a statement released by Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation said on Thursday, January 29, 2015.
All 239 people aboard Boeing 777 which vanished on March 8, 2014, were now presumed dead.
It said that under international aviation law “states that the definition of the term ‘accident’ includes ‘the aircraft is missing.’ It also states that ‘an aircraft is considered to be missing when the official search has been terminated and the wreckage has not been located.” It added that “search” is defined as “an operation to locate persons in distress.”
“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,” said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation. “All 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.”
The announcement comes more than 10 months after MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The U.S. has been among 13 countries to send aircraft and ships to attempt to recover the jet, which investigators believe crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean
The underwater search for wreckage will continue, Rahman added.