International effort underway to find missing Malaysia Airlines plane

One day after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 simply vanished from the sky while heading to Beijing, there are still few answers.
March 8, 2014 5:32:45 PM PST
One day after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 simply vanished from the sky while heading to Beijing, there are still few answers.

"Malaysia Airlines confirm that this flight, MH370, lost contact with Subang air traffic control at 2:40 am this morning," said Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

The Boeing 777 carrying 239 people, including at least three Americans, took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. But somewhere around two hours into the flight it fell off the radar, reportedly over Vietnamese airspace.

On Saturday, the Vietnamese Air Force said it spotted two large oil slicks close to where the 777 may have gone missing, though there is no word yet that they're related.

For confirmation, investigators would want to see wreckage or detect pings from the aircraft's black boxes. Neither have been found yet.

Most on board were Chinese. In Beijing, anguished family members were heralded into a hotel room, frustrated and desperate for information.

And in Kuala Lumpur, it was much the same.

"No news, no nothing," said Ahmad Nazmei Rusli, a relative of one of the passengers.

Because the pilot never sent a distress signal, Malaysia Airlines says whatever happened occurred quickly and possibly catastrophically.

"The probability, for instance, that a mechanical problem brought the airplane down is highly unlikely," said ABC News aviation consultant John Nance. "The possibility or probability of a bomb is more likely. We don't know the situation with respect to weather at the time. We don't know."

Also raising red flags is the fact two passengers listed on the plane's manifest -- an Italian and an Austrian -- were not actually on the flight, but had their passports stolen in Thailand. This is causing concern about the possibility of terrorism.

And adding to this mystery is that the Boeing 777 is one of the world's most popular jets, with an excellent safety record involved only one fatal crash in its 19 year history.

The U.S. Navy said it's dispatched a warship to aid in the search. The USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, is on its way from international waters in the South China Sea to the southern coast of Vietnam.

The Pinckney carries two helicopters that can be used for search and rescue. It is expected to reach the search area within 24 hours.

Additionally, the Navy is deploying an Orion patrol and surveillance plane based in Okinawa. It will bring long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the search mission.

(ABC7 News and the Associated Press contributed to this report)


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