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After 17 days of desperation and doubt over the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the country's officials said an analysis of satellite data points to a "heartbreaking'' conclusion: Flight 370 met its end in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, and none of those aboard survived.
The somber announcement late Monday by Prime Minister Najib Razak left unresolved many more troubling questions about what went wrong aboard the Boeing 777 to take it so far off-course.
It also unleashed a maelstrom of sorrow and anger among the families of the jet's 239 passengers and crew.
A solemn Najib, clad in a black suit, read a brief statement about what he called an unparalleled study of the jet's last-known signals to a satellite. That analysis showed that the missing plane, which took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early on March 8, veered "to a remote location, far from any possible landing sites.''
A graphic provided by Australian Maritime Safety Authority shows an area in the southern Indian Ocean that the AMSA is concentrating its search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (AP).
"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 said.
His carefully chosen words did not directly address the fate of those aboard. But in a separate message, sent to some of their relatives just before he spoke, Malaysia Airlines officials said that "we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived.''
Officials said they concluded that the flight had been lost in the deep waters west of Perth, Australia, based on more thorough analysis of the brief signals the plane sent every hour to a satellite belonging to Inmarsat, a British company, even after other communication systems on the jetliner shut down.
The pings did not include any location information. But Inmarsat and British aviation officials used "a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort'' to zero in on the plane's last direction, as it reached the end of its fuel, Najib said.
In a statement, Inmarsat