KUALA LUMPUR: The missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 was today officially declared an accident under international aviation rules, and that all 239 passengers and crew aboard are presumed to have lost their lives.
In making the announcement, the Malaysian government stressed that the search for the Boeing 777 remains a priority.
The government is committed to continuing all reasonable efforts to bring closure to this unfortunate tragedy, with the continuing cooperation and\ assistance of the governments of China and Australia, said Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
Appearing in a televised broadcast over the RTM1 television channel, he said, “It’s with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident … and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.”
“We have endeavoured and pursued every credible lead and reviewed all available data. Despite all these efforts over the last 327 days (as of yesterday), the search unfortunately has yet to yield the location of the missing aircraft,” he said.
Azharuddin said the Malaysian government acknowledged that the declaration of the MH370 accident would be very difficult for the families and loved ones of the 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard to consider, much less accept.
Thirteen nations, he noted, had also lost sons and daughters to this tragedy but it was nonetheless important that families tried 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,” Azharuddin said.
The Malaysian plane vanished on March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
Azharuddin told the nation and international viewers that the declaration that MH370 was an accident was made in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (commonly referred to as the ‘Chicago Convention’). – BERNAMA