Malaysia deems airplane disappearance an ‘accident’

Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation officially called the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident, clearing the way for the airline to pay compensation to the victims’ relatives.

The airplane, which was heading from the capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared in March with 239 passengers and crew aboard shortly after takeoff.

An international search has not turned up any traces of the aircraft.

“We officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident … and that all 239 passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” said Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman in a statement on Thursday.