Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority has officially declared the MH370 crash an accident, fulfilling a legal obligation that will allow efforts to proceed with compensation claims.

Malaysia civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said Thursday that the search for the Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared on March 8, 2014, "remains a proiority."

In a pre-recorded message broadcast on Malaysian television he said "it is with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight mh370 an accident."

He said all 239 passengers and crew on board are presumed to have lost their lives.