In a statement Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the latest data appeared to show that Flight MH370 had ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
While there's still little concrete evidence of exactly where the plane is, it appears to have been the first definitive statement on what happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight from authorities, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
A meeting with Chinese relatives of the passengers on board MH370 and representatives of Malaysia Airlines was held before the announcement in Kuala Lumpur, according to the New York Times, and relatives were also reportedly sent a text message from the airline. Here's a screen-shot of one from Adrienne Mong of NBC News:
Both Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government have been criticized for their handling of MH370's disappearance. Whatever the practical benefits of using a text message to inform families that their loved ones were thought to be dead, it seems likely this move may also be criticized.
Meanwhile, Malaysian defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein has tweeted on the treatment of the relatives of MH370 families:
I truly understand there are no words which could console the family members of #MH370. The whole world is with you in these difficult times— Hishammuddin Hussein (@HishammuddinH2O) March 24, 2014
In these times of grief, I urge the public to give the family members some space, respect their privacy #MH370— Hishammuddin Hussein (@HishammuddinH2O) March 24, 2014
#MH370 : words just cannot describe how I feel 2nite but I promise you esp d families of all d passengers n crew : The search continues.— Hishammuddin Hussein (@HishammuddinH2O) March 24, 2014