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Flight MH370: 'All lives are lost'
02:27 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: "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

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 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

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

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.