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Thread: Malaysia Airlines flight to Beijing disappears with 239 on board

  1. #1
    Gold Member Slushie's Avatar
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    Default Malaysia Airlines flight to Beijing disappears with 239 on board

    (Reuters) - A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew went missing over the South China Sea on Saturday, presumed crashed, as ships and planes from countries closest to its flight path scoured a large search area for any wreckage.

    Vietnamese state media, quoting a senior naval official, had reported that the Boeing 777-200ER flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had crashed off south Vietnam. Malaysia's transport minister later denied any crash scene had been identified.

    "We are doing everything in our power to locate the plane. We are doing everything we can to ensure every possible angle has been addressed," Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. "We are looking for accurate information from the Malaysian military. They are waiting for information from the Vietnamese side," he said.

    Vietnamese Admiral Ngo Van Phat later qualified his earlier remarks about a crash site having been identified and told Reuters he was referring to a presumed location beneath the plane's flight path, using information supplied by Malaysia.

    A crash, if confirmed, would likely mark the U.S.-built Boeing 777-200ER airliner's deadliest incident since entering service 19 years ago.
    The plane disappeared without giving a distress signal - a chilling echo of an Air France flight that crashed into the South Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. It vanished for hours before wreckage was found.

    Search and rescue vessels from the Malaysian maritime enforcement agency reached the area where the plane last made contact at about 4.30 p.m. Singapore time (0830 GMT) but saw no immediate sign of wreckage, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told Reuters.

    Flight MH370, operating a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement read to an earlier news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
    There were no reports of bad weather in the area.

    The airline said people from 14 nationalities were among the 227 passengers - at least 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans. A Chinese infant and an American infant were also on board.
    "The Australian government fears the worst for those aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370," a spokeswoman for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

    Flight tracking website flightaware.com showed the plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from the website's tracking records a minute later while it was still climbing.
    Malaysia and Vietnam were conducting a joint search and rescue operation, while China and the Philippines have sent ships to the South China Sea to help. The Philippines also dispatched a military plane to help in the search.
    China has also put other ships and aircraft on standby, said Transport Minister Yang Chuantang.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing before the initial Vietnamese report that the plane had crashed that China was "extremely worried" about the fate of the plane and those on board. "The news is very disturbing. We hope everyone on the plane is safe," Wang said.
    The flight was operating as a China Southern Airlines codeshare.

    The flight left Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) but no trace had been found of the plane more than eight hours after it was due to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT Friday) the same day.
    "We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370," Jauhari said.

    Malaysia Airlines has one of the best safety records among full-service carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.
    It identified the pilot of MH370 as Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian who joined the carrier in 1981 and has 18,365 hours of flight experience.

    Chinese state media said 24 Chinese artists and family members, who were in Kuala Lumpur for an art exchange programme, were aboard. The Sichuan provincial government said Zhang Jinquan, a well-known calligrapher, was on the flight.

    If it is confirmed that the plane crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year and by far the worst since the jet entered service in 1995.
    An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER crash-landed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers and injuring more than 180.
    Boeing said it was monitoring the situation but had no further comment. The flight was operating as a China Southern Airlines codeshare.

    An official at the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said the plane had failed to check in as scheduled at 1721 GMT while it was flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh city.

    Malaysia Airlines plane missing, presumed crashed in South China Sea | Reuters
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Nothing has been found yet. The sea is a big place.
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    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Horrible when this happens. Poor people on board and their families.

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    CNN has a "breaking news" headline (that currently doesn't link to anything) saying that debris has been located in the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I don't know why I'm always surprised when an accident like this doesn't leave an obvious debris field, but I guess it happens all the time.

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    So Lost was based on a true story?

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    No mayday from the pilots. Very sudden. Makes you think of Lockerbee if they were over water instead.
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Or one of the pilots went nuts.
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    Man, so sad. I hope they find the crash site for the family's sake. If my loved one just "disappeared" I'd wonder the rest of my life.

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    It's being reported that two people were on that flight using stolen passports...coincidence or something more sinister?
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Yeah, just saw that. Jets really don't just drop into the water from 30,000 feet up for no reason. I hope this wasn't the case.
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    This is just sad and also scary (I never liked flying anyway).

    Hopefully they can find them soon.

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    We fly often and this is one of my worst fears. Those poor people and their poor families.

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    Elite Member Flygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I don't know why I'm always surprised when an accident like this doesn't leave an obvious debris field, but I guess it happens all the time.
    I agree. It does seem strange. Air France 447 (that flight from Rio that broke apart in the thunderstorm) debris was not discovered until almost two years after the flight. Anytime an airplane breaks apart in midair (storm, over G, explosion, or basic structural failure) the wreckage is almost always small pieces that sink pretty quickly. I'm with you, though. It always seems as if there should be more.

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