KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 has been officially ruled an accident in which there were no survivors.
The announcement by the Malaysian government could allow compensation payments to start for victim's relatives.
"It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that... we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident," Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation, said on Thursday. "All 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives."
Currently, four sea vessels are searching the ocean floor with sonar technology in the ongoing search for the wreckage.
The plane, with 239 people on board, vanished about an hour on Mar. 8 2014 after departing Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on its way to Beijing. Most of the passengers were Chinese.
A Malaysian air force official indicated contact with the plane was lost over Pulau Perak, a small island in the Straits of Malacca -- hundreds of miles from the flight's normal path.
An unsuccessful search and rescue operation was launched after the plane's disappearance.