Malaysia Airlines flight vanishes, four Americans on board

A Malaysia Airlines flight with 227 passengers on board - including three adult Americans and an infant - has gone missing and a search and rescue team has been deployed to locate the aircraft, a spokeswoman has confirmed to ABC News.

The Beijing-bound flight departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:55 a.m., and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., the airline said. It went missing two hours into the flight.

The airline said there are 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members on board the Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines said tonight that the passengers included three adult Americans and a baby as well as travelers from Canada, Britain, Australia, France, India, the Netherlands, Russia and several other countries.

"We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370," the airline's chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said statement on Facebook.

"Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft," Yahya said. "Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew."

The plane's route would take the aircraft from Malaysia across to Vietnam and China. China's state news agency Xinhua reported that the plane lost communication over Vietnam with control department in Ho Chi Minh City at 1:20 a.m. The radar signal also was lost, Xinhua reported. Those reports could not be immediately confirmed.

Malaysia Airlines said the captain of the airliner, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was an experienced 53-year-old pilot who had 18,365 hours of flying since joining the airline since 1981. The first officer on the flight was identified as Fariq Hamid, 27, and had about 2,800 flight hours since 2007.

All countries in the possible flight path of the missing aircraft were performing a "communications and radio search", John Andrews, deputy chief of the Philippines' civil aviation agency, told the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the flight information board at the airport in Beijing indicated the flight was delayed.

No families were present at the airport as an airport official wrote on a white board near the arrivals customer service desk that families of the missing passengers should go to the Lido Hotel. The notice was put up about four hours after the plane was overdue.

"Friends and families should go to the Lido Hotel for more information," Eric Yangchao, customer service representative for Beijing International Airport, told ABC News. He said a shuttle bus was ready to take people to the hotel.

While there were no families visible at the hotel, there was a growing number media there and more than a dozen police officers.

In a statement on Twitter, Boeing said it was watching the situation closely. The Malaysian aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, is 11 years and 10 months old. The 777 model had not had a fatal crash in its 20 year history until the Asiana crash in San Francisco in July 2013.


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