I've been praying for these people all day. I absolutely hate events like this. 239 alive this morning, all gone today... so devastating
on the flight included an American baby and a Chinese baby, and 12 crew
members, Malaysian Airlines said in a statement, adding it
was working with all authorities in the region and search and rescue
teams had been mobilized.
The aircraft had
been due to land in Beijing at 6.30am local time but at 7.54am the
airline issued a statement saying it had not landed and was officially
On board were 153 Chinese, 38
Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, seven
Australians, three French, four Americans, two each from New Zealand,
Canada and Ukraine, and one each from Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the
Netherlands and Austria.
The pilot of the passenger plane is Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysia who joined the airline in 1981.
His co-pilot was 27-year-old First Officer Fariq Ab. Hamid, also from Malaysia, who joined the airline in 2007.
If the aircraft has crashed, and all
the passengers and crew are killed, it would the deadliest aviation
incident since November 2001.
In that incident, 265 people died after an American Airlines Airbus
A300 crashed in Belle Harbor, Queens, after leaving JFK Airport in New
York. The deaths included five people on the ground.
Operations Control Vice President Fuad Sharuji said: 'We tried to call
this aircraft through various means,' adding that it was carrying fuel
for 7.5 hours when it disappeared.
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.
plane 'lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered
Vietnam's air traffic control,' Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, deputy
chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement issued by the
More than 10 hours after last contact, officials from several countries were struggling to locate the plane.
countries in the possible flight path of the missing aircraft were
performing a 'communications and radio search', John Andrews, deputy
chief of the Philippines' civil aviation agency, said.
Xinhua said China has sent 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,' Shukor Yusof, an aviation
analyst at S&P Capital IQ, said.
'It's either on the ground somewhere, intact, or possibly it has gone down in the water.'
Aviation experts said that if the report of the aircraft suddenly plunging was correct it could be due to a number of factors.
Long wait: A Malaysian man with relatives on the plane arrives at Beijing airport
Devastating: A woman cries in Beijing airport as she waits to hear information about her family
Anxious: A man with family on the missing flight is escorted to the relatives room at Kuala Lumpur airport
These include a catastrophic engine failure; the pilots taking evasive action to avoid another aircraft; or an explosion.
airline has not said whether the pilots were able to issue a distress
call - but if they did not, experts said this could indicate a
catastrophy that had occurred without warning.
Beijing's airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and
friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15km from the airport
to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service.
A woman wept on the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone: 'They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good.'
A waiting area for family and friends was also set up at the Kuala Lumpur airport the flight had left from.
Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines' vice president of operations control, told
CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000ft and that the
pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.
The Boeing jet lost contact with Malaysian air traffic controllers a little over two hours into its flight.
Reports from China's Xinhua news
agency said later that the aircraft was lost in air space controlled by
Vietnam and did not enter Chinese airspace or make any contact with
team is currently calling the next of kin of passengers and crew,' the
airline's chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said as the airline
issued a statement saying its 'thoughts and prayers' were with all those
on board as well as their families.
Waiting room: Family and friends are being
directed to a reception area at Kuala Lumpur airport, where the plane
left, as the airline gathers details about the missing aircraft
Information: A member of staff from Malaysia Airlines is surrounded by reporters at the airport
Finding planes that disappear over the
ocean can be difficult. Airliner 'black boxes' - the flight data and
cockpit voice recorders - are equipped with 'pingers' that emit
ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.
good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles
away, John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation
Safety Board, said.
boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far,
he said. If the boxes are in an underwater trench, that also hinders how
far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.
reports said it was believed the missing aircraft was involved in a
crash in August 2012 when it damaged the tail of a China Eastern
Airlines plane at Shanghai Pudong Airport.
The reports said that in that incident the tip of the wing of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 broke off.
Family room: Women waiting to hear about loved ones on the plane arrive at Kuala Lumpur airport
Update: Malaysian Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain speaks at a press conference on Saturday
American Airlines captain Jim Tilmon told CNN that 'it doesn't sound
very good,' as the search continued for the missing jet.
'The route is mostly overland, which means there would be plenty of radars and radios 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.'
Mr Tilmon said the jet was 'about as sophisticated as any commercial airplane could possibly be.'
Route: An online flight tracker for MH37 ends shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur
Missing: The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 lost contact with Air Traffic Control over the Pacific with 227 passengers aboard