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Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people goes missing en route to Beijing

rtr3g6tz.si(As of March 8th 12:00AM EST, Still Missing)

Authorities are searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 bound for Beijing after air traffic controllers lost contact with the airliner carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members early Saturday morning, the airline said.

Malaysia Airlines said flight MH370 lost touch with Subang Air Traffic Control around 02:40 local time Saturday morning.

The aircraft left Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:41 and was expected to land in Beijing at 06:30 local time (22:30 GMT).

Despite local news reports, Vietnamese and Malaysian rescue crews have not located the plane’s signal, but Hanoi believes the craft disappeared in Vietnamese airspace.

“We have been seeking but no signal from the plane yet,” Pham Hien, director of a Vietnam maritime search and rescue coordination center, told Reuters.

The flight was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said in a statement.

“Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their search and rescue team to locate the aircraft,” the airline added.

There were 14 nationalities represented among the 227 passengers, according to airline officials. Passengers include 153 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, seven Australians, four Americans, and one Russian, among others.

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

The last contact the plane had with air traffic controllers was 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, the airline said on Saturday. The pilot of the flight was 53-year-old Malaysian national Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah who has logged a total of 18,365 flying hours and has been working for Malaysian airlines since 1981.

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