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MH370: Malaysia not ready for death declaration

Kuala Lumpur -

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was not yet ready to declare formally dead the 239 people aboard a Malaysian Airlines jetliner that went missing last month.

Candles are placed in front of a message board dedicated to passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 before relatives pray at Lido Hotel in Beijing. Picture: Jason Lee. Credit: Reuters

Najib told CNN in an interview late on Thursday that although based on the evidence the Beijing-bound MH370 had crashed into the sea, killing all on board, he would not make the deaths official.

“Right now I think I need to take into account the feeling of the next of kin and some of them have said publicly that they are not willing to accept it until they find hard evidence,” Najib said.

Najib said that he had also found it difficult to believe when international aviation experts told him the missing aircraft ended up in the Indian Ocean.

“It was a bizarre scenario which none of us could have contemplated,” he said.

Najib said he asked aviation experts from the US and Britain several times if they were sure about the plane's presumed fate.

“Their answer to me was, ‘We are as sure as we can possibly be’,” he said.

Malaysia is next week likely to release a preliminary report about the missing plane, he added. - Sapa-dpa

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