29 Jan 2015:Â The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 an accident and says there were no survivors.
No trace of the Beijing-bound aircraft has been found since it disappeared on 8 March 2014.
Officials say that the recovery operation is ongoing but that the 239 people onboard are now presumed dead.
The plane’s whereabouts are still unknown despite a massive international search in the southern Indian Ocean.
The declaration on Thursday should allow compensation payments to relatives of the victims.
Malaysian officials added that the recovery of the missing aircraft remained a priority and that they had pursued “every credible lead”.
Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that it was “with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident.”
“All 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” he said.
Following Thursday’s announcement, China’s foreign ministry called for compensation for the victims’ families.
“We call on the Malaysian side to honour the promise made when they declared the flight to have been lost and earnestly fulfil their compensation responsibilities,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.
The majority of the passengers on MH370 were Chinese.