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Anxiety, tears as Malaysia Airlines flight vanishes 2 hours after take off (PHOTOS)

published on Saturday, 8 March 2014

Hundred of passengers and crew members on a Malaysian Airline flight earlier today are feared dead as the Boeing 747 aircraft conveying them vanished off the coast of Vietnam.The flight took off from the Malaysian capital, Kualar Lumpur on its way to  Beijing, China before losing contact with air traffic control about two hours after leaving its take off point.It was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.Many family members have started thronging the Malaysian airport waiting for the news of the fate of their loved ones.The plane reportedly vanished after reaching 35,000ft and 120 nautical miles off the coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, prompting fears the aircraft ‘could have crashed’.

The Malaysian Transport Minister said 14 hours into the search and rescue missions, that no trace of a crash site in the sea has been found.‘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.Ships in the area have been involved, scouring the vast site for signs of a wreckage.Malaysian Airlines has confirmed the majority of those on board are from Malaysia and China, with four Americans, two Canadians and seven Australians and passengers from France.Vietnamese state media, quoting a senior naval official, had reported that the Boeing 777-200ER flight had crashed off south Vietnam, but those reports have been denied, with the plane listed as ‘missing’.The Vietnamese Navy confirmed it detected the aircraft’s emergency locator signal 153 miles south of Phu Quoc island in the South China sea.Admiral Ngo Van Phat told the Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre that radar showed the aircraft had crashed into the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam, close to the border with Cambodia.The paper later reported the Admiral qualifying his statement, saying the radar had revealed the presumed crash site.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.It was hoped the naval ships, along with other vessels, would be able to reach the area before darkness fell, to increase the chances of finding any survivors or wreckage.The signal picked up by the Navy is believed to be the Emergency Locator Transmittor, which can be activated manually by the flight crew or automatically upon impact.Crying relatives of Chinese passengers on board the plane wept at Beijing airport earlier today as it became clear the jet had probably crashed.An unconfirmed report on a flight tracking website said the aircraft had plunged 650ft and changed course shortly before all contact was lost.The route would have taken flight MH370, a B777-200 aircraft, across the Malaysian mainland in a north-easterly direction and then across the Gulf of Thailand.

Those 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 missing.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.

-Daily Mail