Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 lost in Indian Ocean, says Malaysian PM

Malaysia has concluded that the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 that disappeared with 239 people on board over two weeks ago ended in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

In a statement issued today, he said, new satellite analysis from Britain had shown that Flight MH370 was last seen in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia.

"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites," Razak 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." He added that the families of those on board had been informed of the developments.

''On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time,'' Malaysia Airlines said in a separate statement ahead of Razak's address.

''We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We will continue to provide assistance and support to you, as we have done since MH370 first disappeared in the early hours of 8 March, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

''The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain. Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers.

We would like to assure you that Malaysia Airlines will continue to give you our full support throughout the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Meanwhile, an Australian navy ship is reported to be close to finding possible debris from the jetliner after a mounting number of sightings of floating objects that are believed to parts of the plane.

Earlier on Monday, Xinhua news agency said a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft spotted two "relatively big" floating objects and several smaller white ones dispersed over a large area.

The US navy has flown in its high-tech black box detector to the area.

Since the black boxes, or the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, record what happens on board planes in flight, finding the black boxes soon is crucial.

"If debris is found we will be able to respond as quickly as possible since the battery life of the black box's pinger is limited," Commander Chris Budde, US Seventh Fleet Operations Officer, said in an emailed statement.

Investigators believe someone on the flight shut off the plane's communications systems. However, partial tracking by military radar showed the plane turning west and re-crossing the Malay Peninsula.

That led them to focus on hijacking or sabotage, but investigators have not ruled out technical problems.