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China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search teams across Southeast Asia using ships and planes scoured the seas between Malaysia and Vietnam on Saturday looking for traces of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared from air traffic control screens with 239 people on board.

More than 17 hours after contact was lost with the plane as it entered Vietnam airspace, there was still no sign of Flight MH370, which had left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday morning and did not have had enough fuel to fly that long.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said there was no indication that the pilots sent a distress signal. The fact that there was apparently no call for help suggests that whatever happened to the flight occurred quickly.

Two-thirds of the plane’s passengers were from China, while others were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe. It disappeared off the radar around an hour after takeoff. Yahya said weather conditions in the area at the time the plane disappeared were fine.

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather at a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

Relatives and friends of passengers were escorted into a private area at the Lido Hotel, and reporters were kept away. A man in a gray hooded sweatshirt later stormed out complaining about a lack of information. The man, who said he was a Beijing resident but declined to give his name, said he was anxious because his mother was on board the flight with a group of 10 tourists.

“We have been waiting for hours,” he said. “And there is still no verification.”

The plane was last detected on radar at 1:30 a.m. (1730 GMT Friday) around where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand, about 75 nautical miles (85 miles, 135 kilometers) north of the Malaysian city of Kuala Terengganu, said Azaharudin Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief.

Yahya said the plane had enough fuel to fly only until 8:30 a.m. Malaysia time.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane. The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement.

The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines. That antipathy briefly faded as nations of the region rushed to aid in the search, with China dispatching two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deploying three air force planes and three navy patrol ships to help.

“In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military’s Western Command.

Thanh said Malaysian, Singaporean and Vietnamese search officials were coordinating operations. He said Vietnam had sent aircraft and ships to scour the 11,200-square-kilometer area where the plane was last known to be. Vietnamese fishermen in the area were asked to report any suspected sign of the missing plane.

Asked whether terrorism was suspected, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said authorities had “no information, but we are looking at all possibilities.”

The plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 152 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven from Indonesia, six from Australia, five from India, three from the U.S., and others from Indonesia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

In Kuala Lumpur, family members gathered at the airport, but were kept away from reporters.

“Our team is currently calling the next of kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” said Yahya, the airline CEO. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysia Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers, all teenagers from China.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult, and it can take days before wreckage is located. Airliner “black boxes” – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Malaysia Airlines said the 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 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. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people. The deadliest crash in its history occurred in 1977, when a domestic Malaysian flight crashed after being hijacked, killing 100 people.

In August 2005, a Malaysian Airlines 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur suddenly shot up 3,000 feet before the pilot disengaged the autopilot and landed safely. The plane’s software had incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, and the software was quickly updated on planes around the world.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and warned of tougher times.

Chris Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Jim Gomez and Oliver Teves in Manila, Philippines, Joan Lowy in Washington, and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed to this report.

China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search and rescue crews across Southeast Asia scrambled to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early Saturday with 239 people aboard.

Less than one hour after Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, the plane disappeared from radar. More than 12 hours after contact was lost, there was still no sign of the aircraft, and no wreckage had been spotted.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said there was no indication that the pilots sent a distress signal. The fact that there was apparently no call for help suggests that whatever happened to the flight occurred quickly.

The plane, which carried passengers mostly from China but also from other Asian countries, North America and Europe, was last spotted around where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather at a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

Relatives and friends of passengers were escorted into a private area at the Lido Hotel, and reporters were kept away. A man in a gray hooded sweatshirt later stormed out complaining about a lack of information. The man, who said he was a Beijing resident but declined to give his name, said he was anxious because his mother was on board the flight with a group of 10 tourists.

“We have been waiting for hours,” he said. “And there is still no verification.”

The plane was last detected on radar at 1:30 a.m. (1730 GMT Friday) about 75 nautical miles (85 miles, 135 kilometers) north of the Malaysian city of Kuala Terengganu, said Azaharudin Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane. The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement.

The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines. That antipathy briefly faded as nations of the region rushed to aid in the search, with China dispatching two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deploying three air force planes and three navy patrol ships to help.

“In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military’s Western Command.

Thanh said Malaysian, Singaporean and Vietnamese search officials were coordinating operations. He said Vietnam had sent aircraft and ships scour 11,200-square-kilometer area where the plane was last known to be. Vietnamese fishermen in the area have been asked to report any suspected sign of the missing plane.

Asked whether terrorism was suspected, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said authorities had “no information but we are looking at all possibilities.”

The plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 152 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven from Indonesia, six from Australia, five from India, four from the U.S. and others from Indonesia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

In Kuala Lumpur, family members gathered at the airport but were kept away from reporters.

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Malaysian Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers, all teenagers from China.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult. Airliner “black boxes” – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Malaysia Airlines said the 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 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. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people. The deadliest crash in its history occurred in 1977, when a domestic Malaysian flight crashed after being hijacked, killing 100.

In August 2005, a Malaysian Airlines 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur suddenly shot up 3,000 feet before the pilot disengaged the autopilot and landed safely. The plane’s software had incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, and the software was quickly updated on planes around the world.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and warned of tougher times.

Chris Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Jim Gomez and Oliver Teves in Manila, Philippines, Joan Lowy in Washington, and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed to this report.

China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search and rescue crews across Southeast Asia scrambled to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early Saturday with 239 people aboard.

Less than one hour after Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, the plane disappeared from radar. More than 12 hours after contact was lost, there was still no sign of the aircraft, and no wreckage had been spotted.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said there was no indication that the pilots sent a distress signal. The fact that there was apparently no call for help suggests that whatever happened to the flight occurred quickly.

The plane, which carried passengers mostly from China but also from other Asian countries, North America and Europe, was last spotted around where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather at a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

Relatives and friends of passengers were escorted into a private area at the Lido Hotel, and reporters were kept away. A man in a gray hooded sweatshirt later stormed out complaining about a lack of information. The man, who said he was a Beijing resident but declined to give his name, said he was anxious because his mother was on board the flight with a group of 10 tourists.

“We have been waiting for hours,” he said. “And there is still no verification.”

The plane was last detected on radar at 1:30 a.m. (1730 GMT Friday) about 75 nautical miles (85 miles, 135 kilometers) north of the Malaysian city of Kuala Terengganu, said Azaharudin Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane. The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement.

The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines. That antipathy briefly faded as nations of the region rushed to aid in the search, with China dispatching two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deploying three air force planes and three navy patrol ships to help.

“In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military’s Western Command.

Thanh said Malaysian, Singaporean and Vietnamese search officials were coordinating operations. He said Vietnam had sent aircraft and ships scour 11,200-square-kilometer area where the plane was last known to be. Vietnamese fishermen in the area have been asked to report any suspected sign of the missing plane.

Asked whether terrorism was suspected, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said authorities had “no information but we are looking at all possibilities.”

The plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 152 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven from Indonesia, six from Australia, five from India, four from the U.S. and others from Indonesia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

In Kuala Lumpur, family members gathered at the airport but were kept away from reporters.

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Malaysian Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers, all teenagers from China.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult. Airliner “black boxes” – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Malaysia Airlines said the 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 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. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people. The deadliest crash in its history occurred in 1977, when a domestic Malaysian flight crashed after being hijacked, killing 100.

In August 2005, a Malaysian Airlines 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur suddenly shot up 3,000 feet before the pilot disengaged the autopilot and landed safely. The plane’s software had incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, and the software was quickly updated on planes around the world.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and warned of tougher times.

Chris Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Jim Gomez and Oliver Teves in Manila, Philippines, Joan Lowy in Washington, and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed to this report.

China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search and rescue crews across Southeast Asia scrambled to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early Saturday with 239 people aboard.

Flight MH370, bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, was last detected on radar at 1:30 a.m. (17:30GMT Friday) about 75 nautical miles (85 miles, 135 kilometers) north of the Malaysian city of Kuala Terengganu, said Azaharudin Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said there was no indication that the pilots sent a distress signal. The fact that there was apparently no call for help suggests that whatever happened to the flight occurred quickly.

More than 12 hours after contact was lost, there was still no sign of the plane, which was last spotted around where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand. No wreckage had been spotted, and there was no trace of it on radar over southern Vietnam or beyond.

The plane, which carried passengers mostly from China but also from other Asian countries, North America and Europe, had taken off from Kuala Lumpur about 40 minutes before aviation officials said contact was lost.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane. The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement.

The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines. That antipathy briefly faded as nations of the region rushed to aid in the search, with China dispatching two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deploying three air force planes and three navy patrol ships to help.

“In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military’s Western Command.

Thanh said Malaysian, Singaporean and Vietnamese search officials were coordinating operations. He said Vietnam had sent aircraft and ships scour 11,200-square-kilometer area where the plane was last known to be. Vietnamese fishermen in the area have been asked to report any suspected sign of the missing plane.

Asked whether terrorism was suspected, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said authorities had “no information but we are looking at all possibilities.”

The plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 152 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven each from Indonesia and Australia, five from India, four from the U.S. and others from Indonesia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

In Kuala Lumpur, family members gathered at the airport but were kept away from reporters.

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Malaysian Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers, all teenagers from China.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult. Airliner “black boxes” – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Malaysia Airlines said the 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 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. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people. The deadliest crash in its history occurred in 1977, when a domestic Malaysian flight crashed after being hijacked, killing 100.

In August 2005, a Malaysian Airlines 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur suddenly shot up 3,000 feet before the pilot disengaged the autopilot and landed safely. The plane’s software had incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, and the software was quickly updated on planes around the world.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and warned of tougher times.

Chris Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Jim Gomez and Oliver Teves in Manila, Philippines, Joan Lowy in Washington, and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed to this report.

China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search and rescue crews across Southeast Asia scrambled on Saturday to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early that morning, leaving the fates of the 239 people aboard in doubt.

CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said at a news conference that Flight MH370 lost contact with Malaysian air traffic control at 2:40 a.m. (18:40 GMT Friday), about two hours after it had taken off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane, which carried passengers mostly from China but also from other Asian countries, North America and Europe, had been expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (22:30 GMT Friday).

Pham Hien, a Vietnamese search and rescue official, said the last signal detected from the plane was 120 nautical miles (140 miles; 225 kilometers) southwest of Vietnam’s southernmost Ca Mau province, which is close to where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane.

The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement issued by the government.

The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines. That antipathy briefly faded as nations of the region rushed to aid in the search, with China dispatching two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deploying three air force planes and three navy patrol ships to help.

“In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military’s Western Command.

The Malaysian Airlines plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 153 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven each from Indonesia and Australia, five from India, four from the U.S. and others from Indonesia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

In Kuala Lumpur, family members gathered at the airport but were kept away from reporters.

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Yahya, the airline CEO, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult. Airliner “black boxes” – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of a deep in an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janiero to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Malaysia Airlines said the 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 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. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people. The deadliest crash in its history occurred in 1977, when a domestic Malaysian flight crashed after being hijacked, killing 100.

In August 2005, a Malaysian Airlines 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur suddenly shot up 3,000 feet before the pilot disengaged the autopilot and landed safely. The plane’s software had incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, and the software was quickly updated on planes around the world.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and warned of tougher times.

The 777 had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013. All 16 crew members survived, but three of the 291 passengers, all teenage girls from China, were killed.

Associated Press writers Chris Brummitt in Hanoi, Vietnam, Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Joan Lowy in Washington and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed to this report.

China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search and rescue crews across Southeast Asia scrambled on Saturday to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early that morning, leaving the fates of the 239 people aboard in doubt.

CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said at a news conference that Flight MH370 lost contact with Malaysian air traffic control at 2:40 a.m. (18:40 GMT Friday), about two hours after it had taken off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane, which carried passengers mostly from China but also from other Asian countries, North America and Europe, had been expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (22:30 GMT Friday).

Pham Hien, a Vietnamese search and rescue official, said the last signal detected from the plane was 120 nautical miles (140 miles; 225 kilometers) southwest of Vietnam’s southernmost Ca Mau province, which is close to where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane.

The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement issued by the government.

The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines. That antipathy briefly faded as nations of the region rushed to aid in the search, with China dispatching two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deploying three air force planes and three navy patrol ships to help.

“In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues,” said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military’s Western Command.

The Malaysian Airlines plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 153 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven each from Indonesia and Australia, five from India, four from the U.S. and others from Indonesia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

In Kuala Lumpur, family members gathered at the airport but were kept away from reporters.

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Yahya, the airline CEO, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult. Airliner “black boxes” – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of a deep in an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janiero to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Malaysia Airlines said the 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 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. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people. The deadliest crash in its history occurred in 1977, when a domestic Malaysian flight crashed after being hijacked, killing 100.

In August 2005, a Malaysian Airlines 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur suddenly shot up 3,000 feet before the pilot disengaged the autopilot and landed safely. The plane’s software had incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, and the software was quickly updated on planes around the world.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and warned of tougher times.

The 777 had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013. All 16 crew members survived, but three of the 291 passengers, all teenage girls from China, were killed.

Associated Press writers Chris Brummitt in Hanoi, Vietnam, Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Joan Lowy in Washington and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed to this report.

China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact over the South China Sea early Saturday morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and international aviation authorities still hadn’t located the jetliner several hours later.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said at a news conference that Flight MH370 lost contact with Malaysian air traffic control at 2:40 a.m. (18:40 GMT Friday), about two hours after it had taken off from Kuala Lumpur. It had been expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (22:30 GMT Friday).

Pham Hien, a Vietnamese search and rescue official, said the last signal from the plane detected by the aviation authority was 120 nautical miles (140 miles; 225 kilometers) southwest of Vietnam’s southernmost Ca Mau province. Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said the plane was over the sea and bound for Vietnamese airspace but air traffic officials in the country were never able to make contact.

The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement issued by the government.

More than 10 hours after last contact, officials from several countries were struggling to locate the plane, which carried passengers from at least 14 countries, mostly from Asia but also from the U.S. and Europe.

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. Xinhua said China has dispatched two maritime rescue ships to the South China Sea to help in the search and rescue efforts.

“It couldn’t possibly be in the air because it would have run out of oil by now,” said Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst at S&P Capital IQ. “It’s either on the ground somewhere, intact, or possibly it has gone down in the water.”

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Yahya said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult. Airliner “black boxes” – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of a deep in an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janiero to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

The Malaysian Airlines plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 153 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, 12 from Indonesia, seven from Australia, four from the U.S., three from France, two each from New Zealand, Canada and Ukraine, and one each from Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

Yahya, the airline CEO, said the 53-year-old pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for Malaysia Airlines since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 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. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200 jets in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss.

The 777 had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013. All 16 crew members survived, but three of the 291 passengers, all teenage girls from China, were killed.

Associated Press writers Chris Brummitt in Hanoi, Vietnam, Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok and Joan Lowy in Washington contributed to this report.

China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard

KDWN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact over the South China Sea early Saturday morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and international aviation authorities still hadn’t located the jetliner several hours later.

The plane lost communication two hours into the flight in Vietnam’s airspace at 1:20 a.m. (18:20 GMT Friday), China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. Vietnamese website VN Express said a Vietnamese search and rescue official reported that signals from the plane were detected about 120 nautical miles (140 miles; 225 kilometers) southwest of Vietnam’s southernmost Ca Mau province.

Malaysia Airlines said it was working with authorities who activated their search and rescue teams to locate the aircraft. The route would take the aircraft from Malaysia across to Vietnam and China.

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members,” he added.

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.

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft. He said the aircraft’s last communication was over the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. Saturday (16:41 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (22:30 GMT Friday), Malaysia Airlines said.

The plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. Passengers were from 14 countries, including 153 from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven Australians and four Americans.

At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service.

Zhai Le was waiting for her friends, a couple who were on their way back to the Chinese capital on the flight. She said she was very concerned because she hadn’t been able to reach them.

A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

Yahya, the airline CEO, said the 53-year-old pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for Malaysia Airlines since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

Malaysia Airlines’ last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200 jets in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss.

The 777 had not had a fatal crash in its 20-year history until the Asiana crash in San Francisco in July 2013. All 16 crew members survived, but three of the 291 passengers, all teenage girls from China, were killed.

Associated Press writers Chris Brummitt in Hanoi, Vietnam, Didi Tang and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, China, contributed to this report.