The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been officially declared an accident with no survivors.
No trace of the Beijing-bound aircraft has been found since it disappeared on March 8, 2014.
Malaysian government officials say that the recovery operation is ongoing but that the 239 people onboard are now presumed dead.
The plane’s whereabouts are still unknown despite a massive international search in the southern Indian Ocean.
The declaration on January 29 should allow compensation payments to relatives of the victims.
Malaysian officials added that the recovery of the missing aircraft remained a priority and that they had pursued “every credible lead”.
Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that it was “with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident.”
“All 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” he said.
Following today’s announcement, China’s foreign ministry called for compensation for the victims’ families.
“We call on the Malaysian side to honor the promise made when they declared the flight to have been lost and earnestly fulfill their compensation responsibilities,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.
The majority of the passengers on MH370 were Chinese.
Four vessels are currently searching the seafloor with specialized sonar technology in a remote stretch of ocean where the plane is believed to have ended its flight.
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman added that Malaysia, China and Australia have spared no expense in the hunt for the plane.
Based on analysis of satellite and aircraft performance data, MH370 is thought to be in seas far west of the Australian city of Perth.
The vessels have so far searched an area of over 11,185 sq miles, according to officials.
The search area involved also has known depths of up to 19,685ft.
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that the progress of the safety investigation into the accident would be released soon, but that “at this juncture, there is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident”.
The DCA plans to release an interim report on the investigation on March 7, a day before the first anniversary of the disappearance.