Government officials in Malaysia have ruled the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident in order to open up the door for compensation claims. The flight disappeared last March while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. 

According to the Associated Press, Civil Aviation Chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman explained the decision in a statement issued today: 

After 327 days and based on all available data as well as circumstances ... survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely. It is therefore with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident

Because all 239 passengers are presumed dead, Abdul Rahman noted that this move will allow the victims' families to make claims, which the Malaysian government is prepared to process. 

Authorities believe the Flight 370 crashed into the Indian Ocean. Despite the announcement, Abdul Rahman insisted that the search for the jet "remains a priority." 

[via Associated Press]