(Adds passenger families' statement; Australia deputy PM
* Malaysia PM says MH370 crashed in southern Indian Ocean
* New satellite analysis confirms last location far from
* Bad weather forces suspension of search - AMSA
* No hope of survivors; relatives distraught
* China demands Kuala Lumpur share all evidence
By Lincoln Feast and Niluksi Koswanage
SYDNEY/KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 Bad weather and
rough seas on Tuesday forced the suspension of the search for
any wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner that officials are
now sure crashed in the remote Indian Ocean with the loss of all
239 people on board.
Citing groundbreaking satellite-data analysis by British
firm Inmarsat, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said
on Monday that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which
vanished more than two weeks ago while flying to Beijing from
Kuala Lumpur, had crashed thousands of miles away in the
southern Indian Ocean.
Recovery of wreckage of the Boeing 777 could unlock
clues about why the plane had diverted so far off course.
Theories range from a hijacking to sabotage or a possible
suicide by one of the pilots, but investigators have not ruled
out technical problems.
An international air and sea search in the area on Monday
spotted several floating objects that might be parts of the
plane and an Australian navy ship was close to finding possible
debris, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
But the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said
gale-force winds, heavy rain and low cloud meant planes could
not fly safely to the zone on Tuesday, and waves of 6 metres
(20ft) or more forced the navy ship from the area.
"AMSA has consulted with the Bureau of Meteorology and
weather conditions are expected to improve in the search area in
the evening and over the next few days. Search operations are
expected to resume tomorrow, if weather conditions permit," AMSA
said in a statement.
The search site is far from commercial flight paths about
2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, a region of deep,
frigid seas known as the Roaring 40s where storm-force winds and
huge waves are commonplace.
"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing
sites," Malaysia's 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."
Some relatives of those on board first received the news
that the search for survivors was over in a Malaysia Airlines
SMS message which said: "We have to assume beyond all reasonable
doubt that MH370 has been lost and none of those on board
There were hysterical scenes at the Beijing hotel where many
of the relatives of those on board were staying. Most of the
passengers on the flight, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, were
A group reportedly representing families issued a statement
describing the Malaysian airline, government and military as
"executioners" who constantly tried to delay and deceive them.
"We will take every possible means to pursue the
unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three," said the
statement on the microblog of the Malaysia Airlines MH370 Family
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that it would make
arrangements to fly relatives to Australia once it had approval
from the investigating authorities.
Abbott said he expected the families to travel to Australia
soon. "They will find a welcoming country that is more than
willing to embrace them in this difficult time," he told
COSTLY DIFFICULT INVESTIGATION
Najib's announcement opens the way for what will be one of
the most costly and difficult air crash investigations ever.
Normally, an official investigation can only begin once a crash
site has been identified.
That would give Malaysia power to coordinate and sift
evidence. Malaysia has faced heavy criticism over the progress
of the search and its informal investigation, especially from
China which had more than 150 citizens on board the plane.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng immediately
demanded Malaysia hand over all relevant satellite-data analysis
showing how Malaysia had reached its conclusion about the fate
of the jet.
Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the
Malaysian statement moved the search to a new phase.
"It moves it to a stage where we are now investigating an
accident, a loss of an aircraft and some new decisions will have
to be taken now about the direction of future operations," Truss
"Malaysia needs to take control under the Chicago convention
of those investigations."
The United States said it was sending an undersea Navy drone
to Australia, in addition to a high-tech black box detector, to
help in the search.
The so-called black boxes - the cockpit voice recorder and
flight data recorder - record what happens during flight. Black
boxes carry locator beacons but they fade out after 30 days.
Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens less than
an hour after taking off on March 8. No confirmed debris from
the plane has been found since.
Investigators believe someone on the flight may have shut
off the plane's communications systems. Partial military radar
tracking showed it turning west and re-crossing the Malay
Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.
Najib said Inmarsat had been performing further calculations
on data gleaned from faint pings picked up by satellite that
initially only narrowed the search area to two massive arcs.
The Inmarsat analysis had narrowed the search area "but it's
still a big area that they have to search", said Stephen Wood,
CEO of All Source Analysis, a satellite analytic firm.
(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard, Megha Rajagopalan and
Joseph Campbell in Beijing, Stuart Grudgings, Michael Martina,
Siva Govindasamy and A. Ananthalakshmi in Kuala Lumpur; Phil
Stewart in Washington; Jane Wardell in Sydney and Matt Siegel in
Perth; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Alex Richardson)