After weeks of speculation as to the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysian government officials announced today that they are certain the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean and that there are no survivors.
It is also heavily speculated that the debris spotted by multiple rescue planes likely belongs to what's left of the crashed plane.
The New York Times is reporting that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stated that this conclusion has been drawn by international authorities based on new analysis of satellite photos.
The analysis of the imagery was provided by British satellite maker Inmarsat and the British national aviation safety agency.
The work by these organizations is said to have narrowed down all the possible paths that the missing jetliner could have taken once it went missing.
Despite weeks of conspiracy theories surrounding the possible fate of the missing airplane, it seems there is no other conclusion that can be drawn.
Sadly, it's likely the one conclusion to be drawn is the one that was most painfully obvious from the beginning: The Boeing 777 went down in the ocean and all 239 passengers were killed.
The only area of speculation that remains is determining how or why the plane went off course and crashed. Nothing can be known until such time as the remnants of Flight 370 are recovered.
The prime minister said that it was "with deep sadness and regret" that he was to inform the public that "according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean".
— Rick Chesler (@RickChesler) March 24, 2014
— GuardianUS (@GuardianUS) March 24, 2014
It is a painful blow to the families of the missing passengers and flight crew aboard MH370. All of these no doubt heartbroken individuals hoped against hope as the weeks went by that somehow, someway, there would be a different ending.
It has been reported that the family members in Kuala Lampur were notified directly and that text communications were sent to relatives in other locations.
One of the more frustrating aspects of this case has been the delay in time period between information becoming available and then being shared with the media and public.
Perhaps this tragedy will encourage various nations to update their use of satellite images and methods of disseminating information.
Image via Wikimedia Commons