Nightly News   |  March 24, 2014

New Evidence Suggests MH370 Crashed South of Australia

Engineers at Inmarsat and Boeing analyzed the March 8 pings transmitted by Flight 370 and concluded the 777 had flown deep into the Indian Ocean.

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>>> good evening, the government of malaysia has officially decided all hope is lost, all lives have been lost. no survivors will be found from the missing boeing triple 7 and that makes this a recovery operation and no longer a rescue. the government says according to all the new available data the flight ended in the southern indian ocean . and so the massive search continues over that massive and violently boisterous body of water. for the families this was a crushing declaration of death without hard evidence of it. it is where we begin tonight with our coverage with tom costello in our washington bureau, good evening, tom.

>> reporter: hi, brian, this is the area in the southern indian ocean 1500 miles off the coast of perth, australia, where the satellite searchers are focused. and now they are indeed convinced that the flight that traveled from kuala lumpur , came here to the bottom of the earth, the new evidence they say is compelling. the flight likely crashed in the waters 1500 miles southwest of perth, australia, the malaysian prime minister says the data is conclusive.

>> therefore, with deep sadness and regret i must confirm you that flight 370 ended in the southern indian ocean .

>> reporter: engineers at inmarsat and boeing went back to refine the data from the faint pings coming from flight 370 and picked up by satellite over the course of march 8. coming with the altitude, the doppler effect convinced the experts that the triple 7 went deep into the indian ocean .

>> if you can imagine the train is louder coming towards you and fainter going away from you. we're looking into that data to find a particular path.

>> reporter: earlier in the day, the chinese photographed what they say was pieces of debris just outside a u.s. search zone, but a u.s. aircraft sent to investigate found nothing. then australian crews dropped a smoke flare on something they had seen.

>> the objects were underneath the surface, visually.

>> reporter: all of the spotting spottinspottin spottings are within the area that the chinese satellites identified possible debris over the past week. but ultimately experts say it may be up to submersible robots to systemically check the ocean floor for wreckage, the challenge? winter is just weeks away and the search will be treacherous.

>> the problem is the towing vehicles you need to find the aircraft, or launching the robots, it makes that stuff almost impossible and no work gets done.

>> reporter: the u.s. navy is now sending in a small mini unman unmanned sub, along with a pinger located that will be towed by a ship. the job will be to listen for the pinger coming off the locater transmitter where they hope will find the black box , the trouble is they have to shrink the search zone down considerably before they start to look for this.

>> of course any debris now has drifted hundreds of miles. tom costello in our washington bureau starting us off, thank