A Malaysia Airlines 777-200 flight from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing has crashed in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam according to reports breaking now from both Vietnamese and Chinese state media. The flight was carrying 227 passengers plus 12 crewmembers and earlier reports suggesting that the plane safely landed in Nanming, China appear to be nothing more than illusory hope. Relatives anxiously assembling at Kuala Lumpur International Airport have been instructed to bring a valid passport in order to “travel to the crash site”.
Not that it matters all that much, but Malaysia Airlines has released some additional details concerning the flight manifest, noting that there were two infants onboard on a flight in which the majority of passengers were Chinese:
- China and Taiwan – 154
- Malaysia – 38
- Indonesia – 12
- Australia – 7
- United States – 4
- France – 3
- New Zealand – 2
- Ukraine – 2
- Canada – 2
- Russia – 1
- Italy – 1
- Netherlands – 1
- Austria – 1
(which adds up to 228 passengers, not the 227 originally released by MH)
Air traffic controllers lost contact with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 about 13:40 ET on Friday and unconfirmed reports are also swirling that the aircraft suddenly dropped 650 feet before losing contact.
This crash marks the second incident involving the 777 in less than a year, the other being the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport.
Here is an earlier press release from Malaysian Airlines:
Statement By Our Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya on MH370 Incident. Released at 9.05am/8 Mar 2014 MY Local Time
We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370 which departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning bound for Beijing.
The aircraft was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30am local Beijing time.
Subang Air Traffic Control reported that it lost contact at 2.40am (local Malaysia time) today.
Flight MH370 was operated on a Boeing B777-200 aircraft.
The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members. The passengers were of 13 different nationalities.
Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft.
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.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.
The airline will provide regular updates on the situation.
The public may contact +603 7884 1234. For media queries, kindly contact +603 8777 5698/ +603 8787 1276.
My prayers are with the families of those onboard and I sincerely hope that the news turns out not to be as dire at it now seems.