Flight 370: Storm of emotions over lives 'lost' as storm at sea delays search

Flight MH370: 'All lives are lost'
Flight MH370: 'All lives are lost'

    JUST WATCHED

    Flight MH370: 'All lives are lost'

MUST WATCH

Flight MH370: 'All lives are lost' 02:27

Story highlights

  • "It's almost felt like a miniature roller coaster within the day"
  • Nasty weather forces officials to call off Tuesday's search for the plane
  • Prime Minister says analysis of satellite data shows the plane went down in the Indian Ocean
  • "They have told us all lives are lost," a relative of a missing passenger tells CNN

For families whose loved ones were aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the past day has been full of news they were dreading.

First, a grim-faced Malaysian Prime Minister confirmed their worst fears, announcing Flight 370 went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

Then, even as investigators seemed closer than ever to finding the plane, stormy weather forced Australian authorities to call off a day of searching for the Boeing 777.

"It's almost felt like a miniature roller coaster within the day," said James Wood, whose brother Philip was one of three American passengers on the plane.

Families are stuck in a "holding pattern," he told CNN's "AC360."

"We're just waiting and waiting," he said, "and not getting any answers one way or another."

An agonizing wait continues

Experts: Flight ended west of Perth
Experts: Flight ended west of Perth

    JUST WATCHED

    Experts: Flight ended west of Perth

MUST WATCH

Experts: Flight ended west of Perth 03:32
Source: Flight 370 turned, dropped
Source: Flight 370 turned, dropped

    JUST WATCHED

    Source: Flight 370 turned, dropped

MUST WATCH

Source: Flight 370 turned, dropped 02:22

They'll have to wait at least a day longer. Gale-force winds, large waves, heavy rain and low clouds forecast for the area "would make any air and sea search activities hazardous and pose a risk to crew," the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said Tuesday. Teams will resume searching Wednesday if weather permits, officials said.

When they start looking again, they'll be combing the remote area in the southern Indian Ocean where officials now say they believe the flight ended.

New analysis of satellite data by a British satellite company and accident investigators led to that conclusion, Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday.

"They have told us all lives are lost," a missing passenger's relative briefed by the airline in Beijing said.

Malaysia Airlines also sent a text message to relatives saying "we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those onboard survived."

While the last-minute announcement appeared to end hopes of finding survivors more than two weeks after the flight vanished, it left many key questions unanswered, including what went wrong aboard the Beijing-bound airliner and the location of its wreckage in the deep, wild ocean waters.

Families overcome after hearing the news

Flight 370 relative: This is a cover-up
Flight 370 relative: This is a cover-up

    JUST WATCHED

    Flight 370 relative: This is a cover-up

MUST WATCH

Flight 370 relative: This is a cover-up 01:01
Psychologist: Grief is shock, then anger
Psychologist: Grief is shock, then anger

    JUST WATCHED

    Psychologist: Grief is shock, then anger

MUST WATCH

Psychologist: Grief is shock, then anger 04:13
Families told all lives are lost
Families told all lives are lost

    JUST WATCHED

    Families told all lives are lost

MUST WATCH

Families told all lives are lost 02:51

For families, some of whom had held out hope their relatives somehow were still alive, the news appeared to be devastating.

At a briefing for relatives in Beijing, some were overcome and had to be taken from a hotel on stretchers. In Kuala Lumpur, a woman walked out of a briefing for families in tears.

"My son, my daughter-in-law and granddaughter were all on board. All three family members are gone. I am desperate!" a woman said outside the Beijing briefing.

Another woman came out of the briefing room screaming, expressing doubts about the Malaysian conclusion.

"Where is the proof?" she said. "You haven't confirmed the suspected objects to tell us no one survived."

A committee representing some of the families of the 154 Chinese and Taiwanese passengers aboard the missing aircraft sharply criticized the Malaysian government in a statement, accusing authorities of deliberate search delays and cover-ups, China's state-run CCTV reported.

"If our 154 relatives aboard lost their lives due to such reasons, then Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and the Malaysian military are the real murderers that killed them," the statement said, according to CCTV.

Malaysian police have interviewed more than 50 people in their investigation into the missing plane, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakal told Malaysia's national news agency Bernama.

Four scenarios of what happened

He said police are focusing on four possibilities about what happened: a potential hijacking, sabotage, psychological issues or personal problems of the passengers and/or crew.

"Such cases may take up to a year," Khalid said, "so please don't jump to conclusions that the police are slow."

While investigators have yet to find even a piece of the plane, the Prime Minister based his announcement on what he described as unprecedented analysis of satellite data by British satellite provider Inmarsat and the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch. He didn't describe the nature of the analysis.

He said the data, drawn from satellite pings the ill-fated airliner continued to send throughout its final flight, made it clear that the plane's last position was in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean, "far from any possible landing sites."

He begged reporters to respect the privacy of relatives.

"For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking," he said. "I know this news must be harder still."

The airline said it was making plans to fly families to Australia once wreckage is found.

How 'groundbreaking' number crunching found path of Flight 370

Two objects in the Indian Ocean

Are found objects part of MH370?
Are found objects part of MH370?

    JUST WATCHED

    Are found objects part of MH370?

MUST WATCH

Are found objects part of MH370? 01:44
The deep sea robot search for 370
The deep sea robot search for 370

    JUST WATCHED

    The deep sea robot search for 370

MUST WATCH

The deep sea robot search for 370 01:57

The announcement came the same day as Australian officials said they had spotted two objects in the southern Indian Ocean that could be related to the flight, which has been missing since March 8 with 239 people aboard.

One object is "a gray or green circular object," and the other is "an orange rectangular object," the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

The Australian naval ship HMAS Success didn't turn up the objects when it searched Monday night, the authority said.

The objects are the latest in a series of sightings, including "suspicious objects" reported earlier Monday by a Chinese military plane that was searching in the same area, authorities said.

A U.S. surveillance plane sent to follow up was unable to find the objects, and so far, none of the sightings has been definitively linked to Flight 370.

Ten aircraft -- from Australia, China, the United States and Japan -- searched the area Monday.

China said Monday after the Prime Minister's announcement that it would be sending more ships to help.

China has a particularly large stake: Its citizens made up about two-thirds of the passengers on the missing Boeing 777.

Satellites helped focused the search

How Inmarsat found MH370's path
How Inmarsat found MH370's path

    JUST WATCHED

    How Inmarsat found MH370's path

MUST WATCH

How Inmarsat found MH370's path 05:58
A look inside the search for MH370
A look inside the search for MH370

    JUST WATCHED

    A look inside the search for MH370

MUST WATCH

A look inside the search for MH370 02:28

Amid a vast regional search that at one point spanned nearly 3 million square miles, searchers homed in on the southern Indian Ocean in recent days after satellite images spotted a variety of unknown objects in an area roughly 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

Australia reported the first images in the area, followed by China and France.

The area also lies on a projected flight path for the aircraft calculated in part from the satellite pings sent by the plane after other communications systems had shut down.

Australian officials have repeatedly warned that the objects may not be from the missing plane. They could be containers that have fallen off cargo ships, for example.

On Saturday, searchers found a wooden pallet as well as strapping belts, Australian authorities said. Hishammuddin said Monday that wooden pallets were among the items on Flight 370. But such pallets are also common in the ocean shipping industry, so it they may be unrelated to the flight.

The investigation into the passenger jet's disappearance has already produced a wealth of false leads and speculative theories. Previously, when the hunt was focused on the South China Sea near where the plane dropped off civilian radar, a number of sightings of debris proved to be unrelated to the search.

How they're searching for debris

Plane said to have flown low

Monday's dramatic developments came after a weekend during which other nuggets of information emerged about the movements of the errant jetliner on the night it vanished.

Military radar tracking shows that after making a sharp turn over the South China Sea, the plane changed altitude as it headed toward the Strait of Malacca, an official close to the investigation into the missing flight told CNN.

The plane flew as low as 12,000 feet at some point before it disappeared from radar, according to the official. It had reportedly been flying at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet when contact was lost with air traffic control.

Also over the weekend, Malaysian authorities said the last transmission from the missing aircraft's reporting system showed it heading to Beijing -- a revelation that appears to undercut the theory that someone reprogrammed the plane's flight path before the co-pilot signed off with air traffic controllers for the last time.

That reduces, but doesn't rule out, suspicions about foul play in the cockpit.

Authorities have said pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah was highly experienced. On Monday, Malaysian authorities said Flight 370 was co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's sixth flight in a Boeing 777, and the first time when he was not traveling with an instructor pilot shadowing him.

"We do not see any problem with him," said Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

Whole world listens for slowly fading pings

Ocean search has many challenges

Clues lead to new theories

        Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

      • nr intv moni basu husbands quiet suffering flight 370_00020822.jpg

        An empty space on earth

        His wife never came home from her flight on MH370, and now K.S. Narendran is left to imagine the worst of possible truths without knowing.
      • This handout photo taken on April 7, 2014 and released on April 9, 2014 by Australian Defence shows Maritime Warfare Officer, Sub Lieutenant Ryan Penrose watching HMAS Success as HMAS Perth approaches for a replenishment at sea while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Two fresh signals have been picked up Australian ship Ocean Shield in the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370, raising hopes that wreckage will be found within days even as black box batteries start to expire.

        Is this the sound of the crash?

        Was the sound of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 striking the water captured by ocean devices used to listen for signs of nuclear blasts?
      •  A crew member of a Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) P-3K2-Orion aircraft helps to look for objects during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in flight over the Indian Ocean on April 13, 2014 off the coast of Perth, Australia. S

        Search back to square one

        What was believed to be the best hope of finding the missing plane is now being called a false hope. Rene Marsh explains.
      • Caption:A Chinese relative of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 uses a lighter as she prays at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 8, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris. AFP PHOTO/WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

        Bring in the lawyers

        Involved parties, including the manufacturer Boeing, are bracing for a long public relations siege.
      • The painstaking search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 got a vote of confidence Friday that the effort is headed in the right direction, but officials noted that much work remains.
Credit: 	CNN

        Pings likely not from Flight 370

        Official: The four acoustic pings at the center of the search for Flight 370 are no longer believed to have come from the plane's black boxes.
      • INDIAN OCEAN (April 14, 2014) -- Operators aboard ADF Ocean Shield move U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, April 14. Using side scan sonar, the Bluefin will descend to a depth of between 4,000 and 4,500 meters, approximately 35 meters above the ocean floor. It will spend up to 16 hours at this depth collecting data, before potentially moving to other likely search areas. Joint Task Force 658 is currently supporting Operation Southern Indian Ocean, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/RELEASED)

        Underwater search on hold

        The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane will effectively be put on hold this week, and may not resume until August at the earliest.
      • Movie-makers say they have recruited leading Hollywood technicians to bring their experience to mid-air flight sequences.

        An MH370 movie already?

        Movie-makers in Cannes have announced they're making a thriller based on the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370.
      • The story of the search

        The search for the missing Boeing 777 has gone on for eight weeks now. CNN's David Molko looks back at this difficult, emotional assignment.