Malaysian Prime Minister: "All Evidence" Suggests MH370 Crashed in Southern Indian Ocean

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 24 2014 10:16 AM

Malaysian PM: "All Evidence Suggests the Plane Went Down in the Southern Indian Ocean"

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (C) addresses a press conference stating that they have received new satellite images during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on March 22, 2014

Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced late Monday night local time that a new analysis of satellite data shows that Flight 370 plunged into the southern Indian Ocean, a remote patch of water where the search effort has been increasingly focused during the past several days. 

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The new analysis, Razak explained, comes by way of the the British aviation agency that was crunching the numbers from the Inmarsat satellite data—which had previously narrowed down the jetliner's last location to one of two possible corridors, one extending north to central Asia and one south to the Indian Ocean. "Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth," Razak said. "This is 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."


Prior to the late-night announcement (which will be followed by a more detailed press conference tomorrow morning local time), airline officials delivered the sad news to the families of those passengers who were on board the 777 jetliner when it went missing less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. "We have to assume beyond reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived," a text message sent to the families read, according to CNN. (The airline says there was also a face-to-face briefing for those family members who were able to attend.)

The announcement comes on the heels of mounting satellite evidence of debris thought to be from the missing flight in the southern Indian Ocean, roughly halfway between Australia and the  desolate islands of the Antarctic. Those to-date unidentified objects, however, have not yet been located by planes and ships that have been sweeping the area for the past several days.

Assuming the official conclusion holds true and the plane did crash in the southern Indian Ocean, that answers only the question of where—but not the mystery of how or why. "The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain," Razak said. "Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers."

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

This post has been updated.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.