Satellite data has confirmed that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.
The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak held a news conference today confirming that all those on the flight have been lost.
He said satellite data provided by a UK company, Inmarsat, showed the plane’s last recorded position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” Mr Razak said.
“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.”
Sky’s Jonathan Samuels in Beijing said there were “very, very distressing” scenes as relatives were told the news.
“Some people were in tears, others are helping those struggling and a woman is screaming in absolute anguish. It’s very tough to watch,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines told relatives they should “assume beyond any reasonable doubt” that all those on the plane have been lost.
“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived,” the airline said in a text message to relatives.
“As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.”
The flight vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour after take-off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 with 239 people on board.
No confirmed sighting of the plane has been made since, but debris has been found in remote waters off Australia which might be part of the missing plane.
The confirmation came after Sky sources said families of those on-board will be taken from Beijing to Australia.
An Australian navy ship is close to finding possible debris from the plane after a number of sightings of floating objects some 1550 miles west of Perth.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the entire crew of HMAS Success is keeping a lookout for the objects.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament: “I caution … that we don’t know whether any of these objects are from MH370, they could be flotsam.
“Nevertheless, we are hopeful that we can recover these objects soon and they will take us a step closer to resolving this tragic mystery.”
The objects are separate from several “suspicious” floating objects sighted by a Chinese search plane earlier today.
The crew of the military Ilyushin-76 aircraft saw “white and square” objects dispersed over several miles in the southern Indian Ocean.
They included two “relatively big” objects and several smaller ones.
The objects cited by the Chinese were seen near an area identified by satellite imagery as containing possible debris from the missing airliner.
The US Navy has also announced it is sending one of its high-tech black box detectors to the southern Indian Ocean.