MH370 flight disappearance declared an accident

Malaysian government officially declares disappearance of flight MH370 an accident

Updated: 
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The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 an accident - and said there were no survivors.

The Beijing-bound flight disappeared without a trace on 8 March 2014.

The 239 people on board are all presumed dead but a recovery operation is still ongoing.

According to the BBC, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that it was "with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident," adding: "All 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives."

Thursday's ruling will mean relatives of the victims will be allowed compensation payments.

The BBC's transport correspondent Richard Westcott said the Malaysian authorities are not ruling out foul play, and that it was a legal move to help families claim compensation.

The Director General said that the search for the missing aircraft would continue.

According to the Wall Street Journal, he said: "Malaysia is committed to continue all reasonable efforts to bring closure to this unfortunate tragedy, with the continuing cooperation and assistance of the governments of China and Australia."

MH370 lost contact with air traffic control shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur. Authorities say satellite data shows the plane diverted from its route and turned south, and there is speculation that the action was deliberate.

But despite a huge search for the wreckage, nothing has been found, and there is no physical evidence to substantiate speculation about the cause of its disappearance.

According to the Guardian, Rahman added: "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."

But some family members of the victims are not happy with the move. Steve Wang, whose mother was one of more than 150 Chinese passengers on board, said: "If they can make this announcement without providing convincing evidence and informing the families, of course they can stop the search anytime they want.

"If they really want to help the families, they should put all their efforts on finding and disclosing the truth rather than playing politics again and again."

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