Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with a plane carrying 239 people. (Source: MGN Online)
The plane was traveling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China. (Source: CNN)
(RNN) - Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with a flight traveling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China.
The plane, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, was scheduled to land at Beijing Capital International Airport at 6:30 a.m. Beijing time.
Air traffic control lost contact with the flight at 2:40 a.m. Malaysia time, about two hours after it took off.
Passengers from 14 countries, including at least three Americans, were onboard.
According to an Associated Press report, Vietnamese officials said Saturday that they detected a signal from the plane over the South China Sea. They added that contact with the plane was not successful. Search crews have scrambled to find any sign of the plane.
A spokesperson for the airline said the aircraft, a Boeing B777-200, was carrying approximately seven hours worth of fuel onboard.
Search and rescue teams have been deployed to look for the plane.
Malaysia Airlines says it is also calling next-of-kin of passengers and crew members and is also working with emergency responders.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members," the airline said in a statement.
The pilot, Cpt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, is a veteran of Malaysia Airlines, joining the company in 1981 and logging more than 18,000 flight hours. The first officer, Fariq Ab Hamid, 27, has more than 2,700 flight hours.
The Boeing 777 is considered one of the safest, most well-built aircrafts in commercial flight. The 777 first entered service in 1995.
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