THE missing Malaysia Airlines plane plunged into the southern Indian Ocean according to new analysis of satellite data, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said.
If confirmed, the news would be a major breakthrough in the unprecedented two-week struggle to find out what happened to Flight 370, which disappeared shortly after take-off from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard.
Among those aboard was Sunderland graduate Huan Peen Chan.
Dressed in a black suit, Mr Najib announced the news “with deep sadness and regret” in a brief news conference.
He said Malaysia Airlines has informed the families of passengers of the plane’s fate.
Mr Najib said the information was based on an unprecedented analysis of satellite data from Inmarsat.
He said the data indicated the plane flew “to a remote location, far from any possible landing sites”.
“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.”
Selamat Omar, the father of a 29-year-old aviation engineer who was on the flight, said some members of families of other passengers broke down in tears at the news.
“We accept the news of the tragedy. It is fate,” Mr Selamat told the Associated Press in Kuala Lumpur.
Mr Selamat said the airline has not told the families yet whether they will be taken to Australia, which is co-ordinating the search for the plane. He said they expect more details on Tuesday.
A multinational force has searched a wide swath of Asia trying to find the plane.