The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 ended its flight in the remote waters of the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian Prime Minister said on Monday, with all 239 people on board feared killed in one of the biggest and most baffling tragedies in aviation history.

More than 17 days after the Beijing-bound Flight 370 disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday night that the flight's “last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean”, more than 2,000 km west of Perth in one of the most remote locations on Earth.

Najib said the Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch, citing data from satellite company Inmarsat, had established the last position of the missing flight using analysis “never before used in an investigation of this sort”.

Questions will now turn to why the Beijing-bound aircraft veered so far off course, heading deep into the Indian Ocean until it likely ran out of fuel and crashed.

Malaysian officials suspected “deliberate action”, rather than a mechanical failure, after transponders were turned off some time around when the pilot last communicated with air traffic control.

On Monday, fresh sightings of debris — so far only seen in satellite images — were reported by aircraft scouring the remote waters. China said its Ilyushin-76 planes had spotted two big floating objects and smaller white objects spread over several kilometers, while Australian aircraft also reported spotting debris possibly linked to the aircraft. Australia said a navy ship would reach on Tuesday morning the location of two objects spotted by its military aircraft, allowing them to confirm whether the debris was linked to Flight 370.

(This article was published on March 24, 2014)
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