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Malaysia says jet went down in sea, bad weather halts search

The search for any wreckage of a missing Malaysian plane was suspended on Tuesday due to bad weather and rough seas in a remote area of the Indian Ocean where officials say the jet carrying 239 people most probably crashed.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said late Monday that according to new satellite-data analysis from British firm Inmarsat, the plane was probably at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished mysteriously from civilian radar screens less than an hour after departing the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on March 8 en route to Beijing.

(Read more: Doomed Malaysia Air flight 'lost beyond doubt')

"My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families. There are no words which can ease that pain. Everyone in the Malaysia Airlines family is praying for the 239 souls on MH370 and for their loved ones on this dark day," Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, group CEO at Malaysia Airlines said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

The circumstances behind the plane's disappearance remain unclear and recovery of wreckage from the plane could provide clues as to why it diverted so far from its path.

"I have great confidence they [the authorities] will find a floating debris field and that becomes the starting point," John Cox, CEO at Safety Operating Systems and a former U.S. Airways pilot told CNBC.

Map showing possible route taken by missing MH370 flightCNBC

"Once we have established the floating debris field that is positively attached to the airplane, we can then take computer programs to take into account the forces of wind, waves and currents and back it up in time to find the impact point most likely and then the distribution of wreckage," he added.

(Read more: Timeline of Flight MH370)

Since Australian satellite imagery cited objects in the southern Indian Ocean last week, search efforts have focused on the area. On Monday, a huge international air and sea search in the area spotted several floating objects.

But Australian authorities said on Tuesday that the search effort had been suspended for 24 hours because of bad weather conditions.

"It is difficult in these weather conditions to find debris floating around in the southern Indian ocean," Mark Binskin, the vice chief of defense in Australia, told reporters in Perth. "We hope to continue the search in coming days."

Unanswered questions

The past two weeks have seen a slew of speculation and reports on the possible fate of Flight MH370. Theories have ranged from hijacking to sabotage or possible suicide by one of the pilots. Investigators have not ruled out technical problems.

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