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Malaysia Airlines MH370 missing an hour after takeoff

Sunday, March 09, 2014, 09:20 GMT+7
Malaysia Airlines MH370 missing an hour after takeoff
A Tuoi Tre reporter (in red) stands beside a Vietnamese helicopter ready for a search and rescue mission on March 9, 2014 at the reported crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, about 153 nautical miles (275km) off Vietnam’s Tho Chu Island.

Malaysian authorities have updated the moment when a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying over 200 people aboard went missing on Saturday, saying they lost contact with the flight about one hour after the plane took off. Vietnam has also released a similar report.

>> No Vietnamese on crashed Malaysia Airlines plane 

Contact with the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 aircraft was lost at around 1:30 am Malaysian time (1730 GMT Friday), about an hour after its take-off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, AFP citing the Malaysian authorities as saying.

Initially, the last contact time was put at 2:40 am, AFP reported, adding that the new time suggests the jet disappeared closer to Malaysia than first thought.

The plane, flight MH370, was carrying 239 people, including 227 passengers and 12 crew members, to Beijing where it was scheduled to land at 6:30 am local time (2230 GMT Friday).

Reuters quoted Malaysia Airlines as saying that the passengers came from 14 countries and territories, including at least 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

Media reports have suggested that two of the passengers used passports stolen from an Italian and an Austrian, citing Italy and Austria’s foreign ministries.

Vietnamese air traffic controllers said Saturday that they could not contact the flight as expected at 0:22 Vietnam time (1722 GMT Friday), adding their radar also failed to detect MH370.

A Vietnamese Navy official said the same day that the aircraft might have crashed at a site about 153 nautical miles (275km) off Vietnam’s Tho Chu Island, located 85 nautical miles (157km) off the country’s southernmost tip Ca Mau.

Vietnam has sent aircraft, choppers, and rescue ships to the reported crash site where oil slicks and a column of smoke were discovered yesterday.

But neither plane wreckage nor casualties have been reported so far.

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