No survivors on flight MH370

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 03:41 25/03/2014
Australian flight
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SEARCH: The Indian Ocean part of the search operations has been going for four days.

Flight MH370: families' fury

Flight MH370: 'objects spotted'

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Relatives of passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have been told they must assume the plane was "lost", and ended in the Indian Ocean, by Malaysian authorities.

Flight 370 vanished March 8 with 239 people, including two New Zealanders, aboard while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, setting off a multinational search.

New satellite analysis showed MH370 flew along the southern corridor and its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, representatives of the UK Air Investigation Branch had told Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sights," Najib 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."

Families have been booked on chartered flights to Perth. 

Najib said a type of analysis never used before had been able to shed more light on the plane's flight path.

In Beijing, where relatives of the missing had gathered to hear the latest update, screams could be heard as the news was delivered.

In a separate statement, Malaysia Airlines said its "prayers go out to all the loved ones... at this enormously painful time".

"We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain."

The airline said it hoped the continued search would provide more answers.

OBJECTS FOUND

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the Australian parliament on Monday night that a RAAF P-3 Orion aircraft had located two new objects at about 2.45pm local time on Monday.

Abbott said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority had advised him the Orion crew had seen a grey or green circular object as well as an orange rectangular object, both of which are separate to the objects spotted by a Chinese aircraft, in the Indian Ocean.

Abbott said he did not know if the objects were from the Malaysian Airlines MH370 flight, but recovery efforts continued.

HMAS Success is on the scene and is trying to recover the objects, while a US navy Poseidon aircraft, as well as a second Australian Orion and a Japanese Orion aircraft were en route to the area.

"We don't know whether any of these objects are from MH370, they could be flotsam, nevertheless we are hopeful we can recover these objects and that will take us a step closer to resolving this tragic mystery,'' he said.

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Malaysia’s Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the vessel could reach them within a few hours or by Tuesday morning.

The objects identified by the RAAF P-3 Orion are different to the objects reported by the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 to AMSA earlier today.

Earlier tonight, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority had tweeted that a US Navy aircraft did not manage to spot objects first seen by the crew of the Chinese search plane looking for flight MH370.

The Chinese crew had spotted "suspicious objects" floating in the southern Indian Ocean as they headed back to Perth from the search area, according to official news agency Xinhua.

However, a US Navy P8 Poseidon was unable to find it again.

The Chinese crew has reported the co-ordinates to the Australian command centre as well as Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which is en route to the sea area. Reports indicate the floating objects include "white and rectangular" items.

The Chinese Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 plane took off on Monday morning from RAAF Base Pearce, in the first Chinese air search operation since two of its military aircraft arrived in Perth on Saturday.

At the request of the Australian air force, one Australian pilot was on board the Chinese plane to join the search, Xinhua reported.

The focus of the multinational search has shifted to the southern Indian Ocean after Australia said that satellite imagery identified suspicious debris that might be linked to the missing plane in waters some 2400 km from Perth.

China and France have since released further satellite imagery over the weekend showing suspicious objects in the same region which could be linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

The Indian Ocean search is now in its fourth day.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force would re-join the search at first light, flying officer Deborah Haines told Seven Sharp on Monday evening.

They were flying about 10-and-a-half to 11 hours each day, she said.

"We're confident that whatever area we search, if there's something, our aircraft will find it," she said.

"As a crew we just want to do the best we can to get to a conclusion." 

Fairfax NZ & agencies

- Fairfax and AP

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