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Malaysia declared all passengers on MH370 presumed dead

Reporter: Rian Maelzer 丨 CCTV.com

01-29-2015 23:19 BJT

Full coverage: Malaysia Airlines Plane Bound for Beijing Goes Missing

Almost 11 months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Malaysia’s government on Thursday finally declared the disappearance an accident, with the loss of all lives on board. But in keeping with what has turned into the greatest aviation mystery in history, the announcement came amid drama and uncertainty.

The media anticipated a major announcement, what with state television set to carry the statement live to the nation. Rumours had been swirling that the government would officially declare that all 239 people on board had lost their lives. Hearing those rumours, some next of kin showed up at the briefing, causing a big stir. Then half an hour after the briefing was due to start, an unexpected announcement.

“The media briefing for today has been called off due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Instead, the head of the civil aviation department went to another floor and made his statement directly to official state media to broadcast.

“Survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely. It is therefore with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Chicago Convention and that all 239 passengers and crew on board are presumed to have lost their lives,” said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, DG. DEPT. of Civil Auiation.

This declaration should make it easier for next of kin to pursue insurance and compensation claims, and to unfreeze assets. But some family members were clearly still not ready for such a declaration.

“Yes it will help a lot of families I know, because they are financially strapped and all that. Our main priority, our main priority is to get back our loved ones,” Said Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of In-Flight supervisor.

Officials later acknowledged they had called off the press briefing due to the presence of next-of-kin in the room.

The Civil Aviation chief assured the relatives of those on board that the Malaysian, Australian and Chinese governments will not give up the search for the missing aircraft, and for the answers as to the true fate of their loved ones.

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