After 17 days of extensive search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, authorities have finally concluded that the aircraft can only be in the southern region of the Indian Ocean.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak revealed this tonight in a hastily convened press conference at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Najib said the confirmation is based on "a type of analysis never before used" on Inmarsat's satellite data.
"Based on the new analysis (from) Inmarsat and (UK's) AAIB (Air Accident Investigation Branch) that MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore, with deep sadness and regret I must inform you that according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean," he said.
PM cautious with words
Najib who spoke in a solemn tone, was flanked by a grim-looking acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
"Malaysia Airlines have already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew to inform them of this development.
"For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking; I know this news must be harder still.
"I urge the media to respect their privacy, and to allow them the space they need at this difficult time," he said.
Najib appeared extremely cautious with his words, refusing to specifically say the plane crashed into the ocean and that its passengers had perished.
However, his grim presentation coupled with his assertion that there were no possible landing site where the aircraft ended can only indicate one outcome.
Some journalists in the room were seen sobbing while a fatigued looking Hishammuddin who had made back and forth trips between the media centre and Parliament today appeared to be holding back tears.
After the press conference, which lasted less than 10 minutes, Najib took paused briefly before striding out of the room without taking questions.
Journalists had rushed after the premier but he refused to offer more comment.
After Flight MH370 lost communications with air traffic controllers over the Gulf of Thailand at 1.30am on March 8, British-based satellite agency Inmarsat recorded six hourly "pings" from the plane until 8.11am, indicating that the plane had spent several hours in the air.
This data had been used to narrow the search to the northern and southern corridor but the latest refinement meant the focus was now solely in the Indian Ocean.
Prior to the confirmation, Australia, US, New Zealand, China and Japan have already been searching in the Indian Ocean some 2,500km southwest of the Perth based on satellite images of potential debris from a crash.
A press conference is expected to be called tomorrow to provide more details on the nature of the refined information.