Malaysia and Vietnam on Saturday led a search for a Malaysia Airlines jet that has gone missing over Southeast Asia, as fears mounted over the fate of the 239 people aboard.
Vietnam authorities said contact with Flight MH370 was lost near its airspace, but its exact location and what happened to it remained a mystery 12 hours after it slipped off air-traffic control screens.
Malaysia Airlines said the plane, on an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, relayed no distress signal, indications of rough weather, or other signs of trouble.
â€œThe plane lost contact near Ca Mau province airspace as it was preparing to transfer to Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control,â€ a statement on the official Vietnamese government website said.
Its signal never appeared to Ho Chi Minh City controllers, it said. Ca Mau province is in southernmost Vietnam, next to the Cambodian border.
Vietnamâ€™s defence ministry has launched a search for the plane, the statement added.
Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record. Its worst-ever crash occurred in 1977, when 93 passengers and seven crew perished in a hijacking and subsequent crash in southern Malaysia.
The pilot of the missing flight MH370 is Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, who has flown for the airline since 1981, the carrier said. Its first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, joined the airline in 2007. The plane is more than 11 years old.
The flight path of the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route passes over the South China Sea and the Indochinese peninsula before entering southern Chinese airspace.
â€œThis news has made us all very worried,â€ Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Beijing.
â€œWe hope every one of the passengers is safe. We are doing all we can to get more details.â€