Malaysia Airlines lose contact with plane bound for Beijing– live

The flight information board in Beijing
The flight information board in Beijing. Photograph: Kim Kyung-hoon/Reuters
As some people have pointed out in the comments, the reported location of plane’s last signal in that AP story contradicts the earlier post pointing to Flightglobal, which suggested the plane would have been off the east coast of Vietnam about two hours into the flight. At this stage we can’t confirm which is correct.
Here is the report via Yahoo Singapore referring to the Vietnamese navy’s claim that its military radar recorded the plane crashing into the sea. Stressing again that this is an unconfirmed report and the airline has not commented on it. Associated Press is also reporting named Vietnamese officals pinpointing more exactly where the last signal from the plane came from:
“Pham Hien, a Vietnamese search and rescue official, said that the signal was detected 120 nautical miles southwest of Vietnam’s southernmost Ca Mau province. Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said that the plane was over the sea and bound for Vietnamese airspace but air traffic officials in the country were never able to make contact.”
Malaysia Airlines has just posted a revised list of those nationalities, which shows the number of Australians at six rather than seven. Our list below omitted one Russian.
More from Tania Branigan in Beijing: China’s state media CCTV news says the country has dispatched two ships to assist with the search and rescue operation in the South China Sea.

Nationalities of those on board

Just to recap on the details given earlier by the airline. Here are the number of passengers from each country believed to make up the 227 on board:
China: 153
Malaysia: 38
Indonesia: 12
Australia: 7
US: 4
France: 3
New Zealand: 2
Ukraine: 2
Canada: 2
Italy, Taiwan, Netherlands, Austria: 1 each
There are also 12 crew, of which we know the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and first officer Fariq Ab. Hamid, are both Malaysian.
Seven Australian citizens are among the passengers on the flight list. Our reporter in Canberra Daniel Hurst has the statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with contact numbers for relatives.
“Malaysia Airlines has advised that it is contacting relatives of the passengers on the flight,” the statement says.”The airline has established a call centre – telephone +60 37884 1234 – for those seeking more information. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre is contactable on 1 300 555 135, or +61 2 6261 3305 (if calling from overseas).”
Unconfirmed reports say Vietnamese media are reporting their navy has confirmed MH370 crashed into the ocean. There is a lot of unconfirmed information and speculation out there, but sadly this seems the most plausible outcome based on what we know so far.
Malaysia Airlines is pointing to an official page for “latest updates”, although so far there is little more than its media statement, which contains nothing that wasn’t known some time ago.
Here’s a basic map showing the area of the flight’s path. describes its route: “According to route data on flight tracking web site Flightaware, MH370 would have departed KL [next to where Shah Alam appears on this map], flown northeast across the Malaysian peninsula, whence it would have crossed the South China Sea, making landfall in Vietnam. The aircraft would have crossed the Mekong Delta region, and left the Vietnam coastline in the region of the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang. By this point the aircraft would have been about two hours into the flight – roughly where contact was lost. After this, the aircraft would have passed to the south of Hainan Island, before reaching the coast of southern China.”
At Beijing airport authorities have provided buses for relatives to go to a hotel about 15 kilometres away for further briefings. Associated Press reported one woman on the bus was weeping while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It can’t be good!”
Notice at Beijing airport.
Notice at Beijing airport. Photograph: Wang Shen/REX
The names of the pilot and first officer have been released. The pilot is Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and has 18,365 flying hours. First officer Fariq Ab. Hamid, also Malaysian, is 27. He joined the airline in 2007 and has 2,763 hours.
Here’s a brief summary of the Boeing 777’s safety record from NBC. It had a near faultless record until last year’s Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco, in which three people died (one in disputed circumstances on the ground). Investigations into the cause of that crash focused largely on miscommunication in the cockpit rather than any structural failing with the plane.
Vietnamese authorities now say the reports a signal had been detected were false. “We have been seeking but no signal from the plane yet,” Pham Hien, director of a Vietnam maritime search and rescue co-ordination centre in Vung Tau, told Reuters. “The information on local media about the signal near the Cape Ca Mau was inaccurate,” Pham said.
Also from the MAS media conference: the airline said the location of the last contact with air traffic control was 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu. Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities are working jointly on search operations in the area.
China state media says Vietnam authorities have detected signals from the missing plane, Associated Press reports.
James Fallows, following the story in The Atlantic, says whatever has happened to the plane is unlikely to be a result of chronic poor practices by Malaysia Airlines (“a good, competent and modern airline”). The Boeing 777 also has an excellent safety record.
Links also here to Flight Aware, which shows the moment in the log the plane lost contact with air traffic control.
In Malaysia, acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein took to Twitter to encourage family and friends of those on board to stay calm and not to speculate about events.
To the family members of the passengers on board- stay calm &only get info fr validated sources. We'll keep all informed. Prayers with all
— Hishammuddin Hussein (@HishammuddinH2O) March 8, 2014
The Malaysian Airlines spokesman told the press conference in Kuala Lumpur the captain of the flight was a 53-year-old Malaysian, who had been with the company since 1981. The first officer was 27, and joined the company in 2007. The airline says it will hold another briefing in Beijing shortly.
Relatives of passengers at Beijing airport.
Relatives of passengers at Beijing airport. Photograph: Kim Kyung-hoon/Reuters
Understandably there are very distressing scenes at Beijing airport, where some relatives of passengers on board have been arriving.
That was a Malaysia Airlines representatives giving details of those on board. There was little further concrete information on the fate of the plane. Earlier the airline’s vice-presdient of operations control, Fuad Sharuji, told CNN: “At the moment we have no idea where this aircraft is right now.” He said Subang air traffic control lost contact with flight MH370 at about 2.40am local time.
A press conference is under way. The nationalities on board have just been released:
China 152 plus one infant, Malaysia 38, Indonesia 12, Australia 7, France 3, US 3 plus one infant, NZ two, Ukraine two, Canada two, Russia 1, Italy one, Taiwan one, Netherlands one and Austria one.
Sketchy information has been coming in about the missing plane in the past hour or so. Fuad Sharuji, vice president of operations control for Malaysia Airlines, says rumours that it had landed safely in southern China were untrue, our China correspondent Tania Branigan reports.
“We do not know where the aircraft is right now,” he told CNN. Asked if there had been any indication the plane was experiencing problems, he replied: “Not at all. The last report said the aircraft was flying at 35,000 feet... there were no calls from the crew [to indicate difficulties].”

What we know so far

• Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has gone missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing
• Boeing 777 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew
• About 160 passengers are believed to be Chinese nationals
• Plane left KL at 12.41am local time and lost contact with air traffic control about two hours later

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