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    Jan 30, 2015

    Malaysia declares MH370 disappearance an accident


    MALAYSIA has declared Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an "accident", meaning all 239 on board the ill-fated aircraft are presumed dead, but insisted that the search for the plane last seen on March 8 "remains a priority".

    Nearly 11 months and up to S$130 million were spent on an unsuccessful search for the plane, which disappeared without a trace en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

    Malaysia's civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that after 327 days "and based on all available data", "survivability is highly unlikely" for those on the plane, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia.

    The area is far from any landing site and has "adverse sea conditions with known depths of more than 6,000m", he said.

    "It is therefore with heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare MH370 an accident in accordance with standards...and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives," the Department of Civil Aviation director-general said in a pre-recorded statement broadcast live on national television at 6pm yesterday.

    Mr Azharuddin added that the search for the Boeing 777 remains a priority for the government, but yesterday's announcement means the process of compensation "whether it is pursued through consultation or through litigation" can begin.