UPDATE [12:37]: Tuoi Tre, a leading daily in Vietnam, reports that the Vietnamese Navy has confirmed the plane crashed into the ocean. According to Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, Commander of the Region 5, military radar recorded that the plane crashed into the sea at a location 153 miles South of Phu Quoc island.
UPDATE [12:01]: Altogether, 239 passengers & crew, from 14 different nationalities, including two infants. Passengers were from:
1. China 152 plus 1 infant
2. Malaysia – 38
3. Indonesia – 12
4. Australia – 7
5. France – 3
6. United States of America 3 pax plus 1 infant
7. New Zealand – 2
8. Ukraine – 2
9. Canada – 2
10. Russia – 1
11. Italy – 1
12. Taiwan – 1
13. Netherlands – 1
14. Austria – 1
The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53. He has a total flying hours of 18,365 hours.
He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, is aged 27. He has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.
UPDATE [11:32am]: VN Express, Vietnam’s largest news site, reports that Vietnam Emergency Rescue Center just announced it has found signal of the missing plane at 9.50am 120 miles South West of Ca Mau cape, the Southern-most point of Vietnam.
The signal is believed to be the ELT (Emergency Locator Transmittor) , which can be activated manually by the flight crew or automatically upon impact.
Earlier this morning, MAS confirmed that flight MH370 had lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am today (March 8th, 2014)
Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am and was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.
Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft.
Speaking on CNN’s AC360, MAS Operations Control Vice President Fuad Sharuji said they ‘have no idea where the aircraft is right now’.
“We tried to call this aircraft through various means,” he was quoted as saying. Sharuji told CNN that the aircraft was carrying 7.5 hours of fuel at the time of its disappearance (2.40am).
CNN also spoke to retired American Airlines Capt. Jim Tilmon who said the route taken by the aircraft had plenty of antennae, radar and radios for contact and that the plane was ‘as sophisticated as any commercial airplane could possibly be with an excellent safety record’.
Malaysia’s interim Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted urging family members of all those onboard the flight to remain calm.