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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Plane Loses Contact with Air Traffic Control, May Have Crashed

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which was supposed to fly into Beijing after departing Kuala Lumpur, lost contact with air traffic control on Saturday and officials from three countries scrambled to try to find it.

There were 227 passengers on board the plane  from 14 different nations, the airline said in a statement. 

That includes 153 Chinese nationals, 38 Malaysian nationals, 12 Indonesian nationals, seven Australian nationals, and four Americans. Several Canada, Ukraine, French, and New Zealand nationals were also among the passengers. The other nationalities involved were one from each of the following countries: Russia, Taiwan, Italy, Netherlands, Austria.

There were also 12 crew members on board.

Vietnam, Malaysia, and China officials were among those working to locate the plane.

All countries in the possible flight path of the missing aircraft were performing a “communications and radio search”, said John Andrews, deputy chief of the Philippines’ civil aviation agency. All four countries were also participating in an extensive search of the sea and land.

Tuoi Tre, a paper in Vietnam, reports that the Vietnamese Navy said that the plane crashed into the sea about 153 miles south of Tho Chu Island. But Malaysia’s transport minister Seri Hishammuddin told reporters that there is “no sign” of wreckage as of yet and a location hasn’t been confirmed.

Earlier reports said that the plane made an emergency landing in China, but airline and Chinese officials denied those reports.

The airline said that it was contacting the next-of-kin of everyone on board to give them updates on the situation.

A Malaysian man who says he has relatives on board the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, talks to journalists at Beijing’s International Airport Beijing, China, Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The plane left Kuala Lumpur International just after midnight Saturday and was supposed to arrive at Beijing Capital International at 6:30 a.m. local time after a five hour, 21 minute flight.

Air traffic control lost contact with the airliner at 2:40 a.m. 

“At the moment we have no idea where this aircraft is right now,” Fuad Sharuji, the airlines vice president of operations control, told CNN at about 8:30 a.m. Beijing time. He said that the aircraft would have run out of fuel by now if it hadn’t landed somewhere.

Malaysian Airlines didn’t report the situation until about 7:30 a.m. Beijing time, almost five hours after contact was first lost.

Retired American Airlines Captain Jim Tilmon told CNN that the situation doesn’t look good, noting that the route is mostly overland, meaning that it should have been easy to contact the plane. 

“I’ve been trying to come up with every scenario that I could just to explain this away, but I haven’t been very successful,” he said.

The Boeing 777-200ER is “about as sophisticated as any commercial airplane could possibly be,” Tilmon said.

Pilot and writer Jeremy William noted via Twitter that the plane “has disappeared in one of the world’s busiest air corridors between SE Asia and NE Asia.”

Boeing said in a statement that it’s monitoring reports of what’s happening. “Our thoughts are with everyone on board,” it said.

Any members of the public such as relatives of those on board who need direct information were told to contact 603 7884 1234.

Story developing; check back for updates.

Follow Zachary Stieber on Twitter.


Malaysia Airlines Missing Plane Found? Did Plane Crash in China or Vietnam?

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  • phoebequeen

    This is so sad. Thoughts are with all involved.

    • rg9rts

      Psssssssfty house of commas and reactivated public square 1

  • rg9rts

    Bummer when you fall off the radar…means fell out of the sky

    • Richard M

      Or that the aircraft’s transponder quit working. ….Could terrorists deliberately disable a transponder?

      • rg9rts

        Not with the oilslick. sadly

        • Richard M

          It is news I just heard. ….Not much point disabling the transponder, just to crash the plane.

          Seemingly, if it was terrorism, the plane would be used as a missile into a Chinese city, instead of just dropped in the water.

          • rg9rts

            Sometimes it is just bringing the plane down….I wonder if this has any relation to the suppression of muslims in china??

      • rg9rts

        Here is something to ponder MSNBC reports that two passengers on board where there with stolen passports…..

        • Richard M

          The thought plickens!

  • Nalliah Thayabharan

    It was a mid night flight, crew fatigue was probably present, resulting in delayed reactions to any on board emergency. There could have possibly been a cockpit fire that simply burned the plane in the air and also cut off radar and all other communications. The Boeing 777, registration 9M-MRO, was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on May 31, 2002. The tip of the wing of the same aircraft broke off Aug. 9, 2012, as it was taxiing at Pudong International Airport outside Shanghai. The wingtip collided with the tail of a China Eastern Airlines A340 plane. The aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines. Almost 12 years old air craft had accumulated 20,243 hours and 3,023 cycles in service. Whatever happened, this is a truly sad day in aviation..

    This incident marks the fourth hull loss of a Boeing 777, the previous being Asiana Airlines Flight 214 with three fatalities. In 2005, during a flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur the crew received a “stall warning” forcing the pilot to turn back. On Jul 29, 2011 an Egyptair flight MS-667 – Boeing 777-200, registration SU-GBP was preparing for departure from Cairo (Egypt) to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) at gate F7 with 291 passengers already boarded waiting for a delayed last passenger until doors could be closed .when a fire erupted in the cockpit causing smoke to also enter the cabin. Emergency exits were not opened, all passengers vacated the aircraft through the smoke and the main doors.What a lucky set of crew and passengers. Imagine the horror had they been airborne.The aircraft was subsequently written off as beyond economical repair.

  • AskandTell

    Hopefully this is just an odd coincidence.

    “In a development that raised fears of foul play, foreign ministry officials in Vienna and Rome confirmed that the names of two citizens, an Italian and an Austrian, listed on the manifest of the missing flight matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Asia, news reports said. The Italian man, Luigi Maraldi, told the Italian news media that he was currently in Bangkok, and was not the Luigi Maraldi listed on the plane’s manifest. An Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman would not identify the Austrian.

    A senior American intelligence official said law enforcement and intelligence agencies were investigating the matter. But so far, they had no leads.

    “At this time, we have not identified this as an act of terrorism,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing inquiry. “While the stolen passports are interesting, they don’t necessarily say to us that this was a terrorism act.”


  • Phil

    I put my money on it was a bomb, as there was no distress or mayday call. Very sad for all the families.