TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Malaysia loses contact with plane carrying 239; 4 from U.S. aboard

REUTERS - A woman (C), believed to be the relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines Boeing B777-200 aircraft carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>REUTERS</em></div>A woman (C), believed to be the relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines Boeing B777-200 aircraft carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement.
REUTERS - A woman (C), believed to be the relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, covers her face as she cries at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing March 8, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>REUTERS</em></div>A woman (C), believed to be the relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, covers her face as she cries at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing March 8, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement.
REUTERS - A boy looks at a Malaysian Airlines plane from the viewing gallery of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, in this January 8, 2002 file picture. A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement. Flight MH 370, operating a Boeing B777-200 aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>REUTERS</em></div>A boy looks at a Malaysian Airlines plane from the viewing gallery of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, in this January 8, 2002 file picture. A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement. Flight MH 370, operating a Boeing B777-200 aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day.
REUTERS - A man takes pictures of a flight information board displaying the Scheduled Time of Arrival (STA) of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (top, in red) at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement. Flight MH 370, operating a Boeing B777-200 aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>REUTERS</em></div>A man takes pictures of a flight information board displaying the Scheduled Time of Arrival (STA) of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (top, in red) at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement. Flight MH 370, operating a Boeing B777-200 aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day.
AP - Malaysian Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain, front, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 8, 2014. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact with air traffic control early Saturday morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and international aviation authorities still hadn't located the jetliner several hours later.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Malaysian Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain, front, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 8, 2014. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact with air traffic control early Saturday morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and international aviation authorities still hadn't located the jetliner several hours later.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Friday, March 7, 2014, 8:15 p.m.
 

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact over the South China Sea early Saturday morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and international aviation authorities still hadn't located the jetliner several hours later.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said at a news conference that Flight MH370 lost contact with Malaysian air traffic control at 2:40 a.m. (18:40 GMT Friday), about two hours after it had taken off from Kuala Lumpur. It had been expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (22:30 GMT Friday).

Pham Hien, a Vietnamese search and rescue official, said the last signal from the plane detected by the aviation authority was 120 nautical miles (140 miles; 225 kilometers) southwest of Vietnam's southernmost Ca Mau province. Lai 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.

The plane “lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam's air traffic control,” Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement issued by the government.

More than 10 hours after last contact, officials from several countries were struggling to locate the plane, which carried passengers from at least 14 countries, mostly from Asia but also from the U.S. and Europe.

All countries in the possible flight path of the missing aircraft were performing a “communications and radio search,” said John Andrews, deputy chief of the Philippines' civil aviation agency. Xinhua said China has dispatched 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,” said Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst at S&P Capital IQ. “It's either on the ground somewhere, intact, or possibly it has gone down in the water.”

At Beijing's airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone, “They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good!”

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” Yahya said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines' vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be very difficult. Airliner “black boxes” - the flight data and cockpit voice recorders - are equipped with “pingers” that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.

Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of a deep in an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janiero to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

The Malaysian Airlines plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 153 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, 12 from Indonesia, seven from Australia, four from the U.S., three from France, two each from New Zealand, Canada and Ukraine, and one each from Russia, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.

Yahya, the airline CEO, said the 53-year-old pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for Malaysia Airlines since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing broke off Aug. 9, 2012, as it was taxiing at Pudong International Airport outside Shanghai. The wingtip collided with the tail of a China Eastern Airlines A340 plane. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines' last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200 jets in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss.

The 777 had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013. All 16 crew members survived, but three of the 291 passengers, all teenage girls from China, were killed.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Surfer seriously injured in Australian shark attack
  2. Former Omar deputy to lead Afghan Taliban
  3. Turkey aims guns at Kurdish rebels
  4. India hangs man who raised funds in support of 1993’s deadly Mumbai bombings
  5. Extremist strikes again in attack on gay parade in Jerusalem
  6. China says U.S. trying to militarize South China Sea
  7. Defense secretary touts success of Kurdish fighters in war on ISIS
  8. Debris on French island possibly that of missing Malaysia Airlines flight
  9. Israelis remember how summer conflict affected beach ritual
  10. Libyans on death sentences for Gadhafi’s son, others: ‘Who cares?’
  11. Scientists warn about killer robots