The grief-stricken families were informed that all of their loved ones are dead—by text message.
The text from Malaysia Airlines reads: "Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH 370 has been lost and none of those on board survived."
Reaction was swift and furious.
"Heartless." "Insensitive." "Cruel," were just some of the comments online.
NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd could hardly believe it, tweeting: "You read that right... Malaysia Airlines sent the families a TEXT message about the plane being presumed lost in the Indian Ocean..A TEXT."
Family members reacted with unrestrained grief and emotion. Some were taken away on stretchers. Others wailed and cursed officials in Malaysia.
The texts went out shortly before the prime minister of Malaysia made the grim announcement that all hope is lost.
The prime minister stated at a press conference,"Malaysia Airlines have already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew."
The announcement came as what looks like debris from the lost flight was spotted in the ocean 1,500 miles off Australia's West Coast.
Ships are converging on the area for a closer look amid some of the roughest seas in the world, says Sam Champion, host of The Weather Channel's AMHQ.
Champion told INSIDE EDITION, "It is in the middle of nowhere, next door to nowhere, on the way to nowhere. So there's no land radar that can get in there."
To make matters worse, air and sea searchers have to deal with typhoon Gillian.
"There's already a storm system set up for Tuesday into Thursday, Perth time, in that area and it's a kind of a sloppy storm that will create some waves and some rough weather and some bad visual conditions," said Champion.
In another eye-popping development, Malaysian authorities are admitting that surveillance images of two Iranians who traveled on the plane using stolen passports, have been doctored.
How Foo Yeen/Getty Images
The heads and bodies are of different men, but the legs and the feet are clearly from the same person. Both are wearing brown shoes and green pants. And looking at the angles, the posture and the shadows are all the same.
Malaysian police claim the images were accidentally altered when they were photocopied.