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MH370 Officially Declared An Accident But Malaysian Government Says Search 'Still A Priority'

29/01/2015 10:50 GMT | Updated 29/01/2015 11:59 GMT

Nearly 11 months after MH370 disappeared without a trace with 239 people aboard, its loss has officially been declared an accident.

Malaysia civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that the search for the Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared on March 8 last year "remains a priority".

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In a recorded message broadcast on Thursday on Malaysian television, Azharuddin said: "It is with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident."

He said all those on board are now presumed to have died.

The announcement fulfills a legal obligation that will allow compensation claims to proceed.

The plane is presumed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean off the coast of western Australia. The hunt resumed in October after a four-month hiatus with more sophisticated sonar equipment.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation's definition of "accident" includes "the aircraft is missing".

Azharuddin said the investigation by the safety team and Malaysian police were ongoing but both were limited by the lack of physical evidence at this time, particularly the flight recorders.

"At this juncture, there is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident," he said, adding that an interim report detailing the progress of the safety investigation will be released soon.

The loss of MH370 has been subjected of wild conjecture of conspiracy theories and the latest announcement ddi not convince those who always claimed something there was a more sinister explanation.

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