Malaysia Airlines said on Saturday that it lost contact with one of its planes carrying 239 people to China.
Flight MH370 was on its way to Beijing when contact was lost, two hours into the flight early Saturday, the airline said in a statement. TheBoeing 777-200ER departed from Kuala Lumpur 12:41 a.m. local time with 227 passengers and 12 crew members and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., it said.
Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a news conference that the airline lost contact with the aircraft between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace and that there were no reports of bad weather along the route. Mr. Ahmad said the missing aircraft didn’t send a distress signal and had enough fuel to fly an extra two hours.
He said the missing flight’s passengers include 153 Chinese nationals, 38 Malaysians and 12 Indonesians. Passengers from Australia, the U.S., France, Ukraine and Canada are also on board. Asked about the fate of the aircraft and passengers, Mr. Ahmad said: “I don’t want to speculate as search and rescue is still ongoing.”
The flight normally takes six hours, initially over water before crossing Vietnam into southern China.
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Lai Xuan Thanh, chief of Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, told The Wall Street Journal that he feared the plane may have crashed in Vietnamese airspace. “We still need to confirm everything. [There were] no reports of bad weather in the region at the time of the signal loss. We are ready to deploy search-and-rescue operations.”
A spokeswoman at Civil Aviation Administration of China said Malaysia Airlines notified it about the missing plane, adding the aviation regulator activated emergency plans and requested air-traffic control operations work closely with the airline and Malaysian authorities.