'We were all hoping for a miracle'
The official conclusion that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean looks to be the end of hope, a friend of New Zealand passenger Paul Weeks says.
The families were called to meetings this morning to be told the fate of the plane, which vanished on March 8 while travelling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.
New satellite analysis showed MH370 flew along the southern flight corridor identified by searchers and its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, representatives of the British Air Investigation Branch had told Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites," Najib said today.
"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."
Families have been booked on chartered flights to Perth.
Weeks, 38, his wife Danica and sons Lincoln and Jack, had moved to Perth from Christchurch in search for a better life.
He was on MH370 from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to the Chinese capital Beijing on March 8, on his way to Mongolia for a new job in the mining industry.
He was one of two New Zealanders among the 239 passengers and crew on board the flight. The other was 50-year-old Auckland man Ximin Wang, whose family have asked for privacy.
"I guess we were all hoping for a miracle, we were all hoping that the plane had been hijacked and headed up north," Weeks' friend Jamie Sayers of Christchurch said today.
"I guess up till now there was always a chance that Paul and the passengers were potentially going to survive it and come out of this.
"I think this is obviously the end of that hope."
Sayers had not spoken to Danica today, but had sent her a text.
"I'm sure she's absolutely gutted and heartbroken," he said.
Although he was sure she would never say so, the news today could be a way for her to start a real grieving process.
Sayers said he had spoken to her in Perth a few days ago.
"She's got a lot of support, a lot of friends, a lot of family," he said.
"Danica is a realist, but whenever you've got a loved one involved you hold on to anything. I think, because there were so many scenarios and there was very little evidence.
"From my point of view I thought anything potentially was possible.
"I guess because they started sending all of that stuff down south, I think there's maybe a lot of info out there that wasn't shared in the public domain, otherwise they wouldn't have sent the amount of assets they sent down there."
Sayers said he had been phoning friends, including some in Britain, this morning.
"We're all pretty gutted this news has come out," he said.
One of his and Paul's good friends in Britain had not even been able to talk on the phone this morning.
"He's pretty gutted, he's got his wedding in a month's time."