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Wednesday May 22, 2019

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Malaysian Airlines 777 feared lost

The search is intensifying for a Malaysian Airlines 777-200 which is believed lost in the sea near South Vietnam. Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that flight MH370 had disappeared at 02:40 local time on Saturday (18:40 GMT on Friday) after leaving Kuala Lumpur.

It had been expected to land around 22:30 UTC (06:30 Beijing).

Malaysia's transport minister said there was no information on wreckage and he urged against speculation.

"We are doing everything in our power to locate the plane. We are doing everything we can to ensure every possible angle has been addressed," Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

"Our hope is that the people understand we are being as transparent as we can, we are giving information as quickly as we can, but we want to make sure information has been verified."

Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the focus was on helping the families of those missing. He said that 80% of the families had been contacted.

The aircraft went missing in an area south of the Vietnam coast, according to a statement on the Vietnamese government.

The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 was carrying 225 passengers, 2 infants and a crew of 12.

Malaysian authorities have dispatched 2 helicopters and four search and rescue vessels to seach the sea off the coast in the South China Sea.

The aircraft had been cruising at FL350 (35,000ft), and the pilots had not reported any problems with the aircraft, Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines' vice-president of operations control, told CNN.

Malaysia's national carrier is one of Asia's largest, flying nearly 37,000 passengers daily to some 80 destinations worldwide.

The route between Kuala Lumpur to Beijing has become more and more popular as Malaysia and China increase trade, said the BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur.

The Boeing 777 had not had a fatal crash in its 20-year history until an Asiana plane came down at San Francisco airport in July of last year. Three teenage girls from China died in that incident.

AF447

The accident is reminicent of Air France flight 447, which was lost on June 1, 2009. The aircraft had been crossing the Atlantic Ocean in an area of regularly unsettled weather called the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

It encountered unprecidented, and severe icing conditions that resulted in the airspeed sensors being iced over.

As a result of incorrect data and confusion on the flight deck, the pilots flew the aircraft into deep stall.

More follows....

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