More than 10 months — precisely 328 days — after it went missing with 239 passengers and crew on board, Malaysian investigators Thursday declared the disappearance of Flight 370 an accident, clearing the way for families to pursue compensation claims.
Investigators with Malaysia’s Civil Aviation authority concluded the aircraft exhausted its fuel supply over the southern Indian Ocean and is on the seafloor. Everyone on the flight is presumed dead. An underwater search continues west of Perth, Australia.
“It is with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident,” Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the director general of Malaysia’s civil aviation department, said in a statement.
The “declaration is by no means an end” to the search for the jet, a wide-bodied Boeing 777, he added. “At this juncture, there is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident.”