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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Malaysia Airlines jet flying to Beijing goes missing

A plane with 239 people on board has gone missing over Asia

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A jet airliner with 239 people on board has gone missing over Asia.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which left Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41am Saturday was due to arrive in Beijing at 6:30am Saturday.

The 3,700 kilometre (2,300 mile) flight involving a Boeing 777-200 went missing two hours after take-off. Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with the aircraft and has "no idea" of its location. The plane disappeared without warning. There was no distress call or any hint of any concern with air traffic controllers along the route. When contact was lost the plane was flying over the South China Sea. A huge air and sea search is now underway to locate the missing plane.

The airline said it had tried to contact the plane through a variety of means but had been unsuccessful. After fifteen minutes of no contact the airline is required to alert aviation authorities which is what occurred.

Airline officials have confirmed that reports that the plane had landed at an airport in China are untrue. Malaysia's Operations Manager said Saturday the airline "does not have a clue" as to the plane's whereabouts.

The plane, around 12 years old and one of fifteen in Malaysia Airline's inventory, is carrying 227 passengers and twelve crew members. The airline says the passengers on board represent fourteen different nationalities. There were 152 Chinese plus one infant on board, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 3 French citizens, 3 from the United States plus one infant, 2 New Zealanders, 2 from Ukraine, 2 Canadians, 1 Russian, 1 Italian, 1 Taiwanese, 1 Dutch citizen and 1 Austrian. The captain of the flight is Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53, who joined the airline in 1981 and has had 18,365 hours flying experience. The first officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, also a Malaysian, aged 27, joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007 and has 2,763 flying hours experience.

"Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft," the airline said in a statement released early Saturday morning local time.

"The focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support," the statement added.

Anyone seeking information on family or friends on board the aircraft can telephone 603 7884 1234 for further information. Next-of-kin based in Kuala Lumpur can go to the Support Facility Building at KLIA's South Support Zone. For directions, call 03 8787 1269. > BNN 

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