UPDATE [2.05pm]: AFP reports that Vietnamese military has found a bigger and clearer oil slick, but nothing else =========================================================================
06:36 GMT - "Puzzled" - Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya says the plane's systems would have set off alarm bells if it turned back."When there is an air turn-back the pilot would be unable to proceed as planned," he says, adding authorities are "quite puzzled" over the situation.
06:13 GMT - Cause - On the possible cause of the incident, Dunleavy says the airline "cannot make any assumptions about the root cause until we locate the aircraft."
"We will not know until we find the aircraft and find the black box."
Where the stolen passports are concerned he says the "airline itself cannot validate a passport we just need to check that when we see a passport it doesn't look like it's been forged, and it's got a legitimate visa."
"Airlines don't have access to national databases about passports, that would be a government investigation."
06:09 GMT - Airline defended - Hugh Dunleavy, commercial director for Malaysia Airlines, is speaking to reporters in Beijing and defending its response to the crisis which has come under attack from distraught relatives.
He says the airline has brought 92 people trained in dealing with stressful situations to Beijing.
"We came here as soon as we could. Even as we speak now we have not been able to locate the aircraft, so you can imagine four or five hours into the event you are much less certain of the information."
The airline will take relatives of the passengers to Malaysia, he said. "It's a decision for the families, if they want to go to Malaysia to be closer to the operations of the search and rescue activities we will take them there."
"The earliest they will depart will be tomorrow, before they can depart we've got to make sure they've got passports and visas."
06:06 GMT - Emotional scenes - Tom Hancock in Beijing reports emotional scenes at the Lido Hotel, where relatives continue to arrive from across China, hugging their loved ones, with some crying.
06:02 GMT - Turned back - Malaysia's air force chief, General Rodzali Daud, citing radar data, says authorities are looking into the "possibility" the plane had attempted to turn back.
"There is a distinct possibility the airplane did a turn-back, deviating from the course."
"One of the possibilities is that it was returning to Kuala Lumpur."
06:01 GMT - Summary - As the search continues a quick summary of events in the last few hours:
Malaysia has launched a terror probe and is investigating four people as it emerges at least two passengers boarded using stolen European passports.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is sending agents and technical experts to assist the probe.
Relatives of the 153 Chinese nationals on board, now camped out at the main international airport in Beijing, bemoan the lack of news.
Vietnamese boats reached the scene of two large oil slicks detected overnight but found no sign of the plane, while the search area has been expanded to 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 square miles.)
However, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation says he cannot "confirm" the existence of the oil slicks.
Malaysia Airlines says it is "fearing for the worst," and urged "all Malaysians and people around the world to pray for flight MH370."
China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have all sent vessels and aircraft and the US Navy has sent a surveillance plane and a destroyer carrying two helicopters.
05:45 GMT - Bigger slick - An unanmed Vietnamese military official at the Ho Chi Minh City military air base, who is helping to co-ordinate search efforts, says the oil slick "was bigger and clearer today."
"The weather is good this morning so search and rescue teams saw the oil more clearly. But they didn't see anything else," says the officer, who was not on the plane but had received reports from his staff.
05:34 GMT - Recovery specialist - Malaysia Airlines says it "is continuously working with the authorities in providing assistance. In fearing for the worst, a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, USA will be assisting Malaysia Airlines in this crucial time."
05:28 GMT - Search area - The search area has been expanded to 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 square miles), Vietnam's Civil Aviation Department says.
05:24 GMT - International effort - The plane's disappearance has triggered a search effort involving vessels from several nations with rival maritime claims in the tense South China Sea.
China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore threw vessels and aircraft into the effort.
The United States also dispatched a destroyer, with two helicopters aboard, and a surveillance plane.
05:22 GMT - Oil slicks - During the initial search on Saturday Vietnam's military said two oil slicks had been spotted, but no debris.
"Two of our aircraft sighted two oil slicks around 15 to 20 kilometres (10-12 miles) long, running parallel, around 500 metres apart from each other," the Vietnam army's deputy chief-of-staff, Vo Van Tuan, told state-run VTV.
"We are not certain where these two oil slicks may have come from so we have sent Vietnamese ships to the area."
"I think the two oil slicks are very likely linked to the missing plane," Vice-Admiral Ngo Van Phat, who is helping to direct the search mission, told AFP.
05:18 GMT - Press - No sooner had relatives appeared at the Lido Hotel's restaurant than some members of the press hovered over their tables, even putting recorders on the table to try and tape conversations.
05:14 GMT - Hotel lunch - My colleague Tom Hancock Lido Hotel in Beijing where relatives are gathered, says some relatives have left their rooms to claim a buffet lunch at the hotel's restaurant.
A woman apparently in her twenties, wearing a bright pink jacket, clutched on to an elder woman's arm, sobbing gently as a hotel staff member assigned them a table.
A group of around seven people in bright blue jackets labelled 'special assitance team' are clustered at the entrance to the lunch area.
05:11 GMT - Lieutenant-General and Deputy-Chief General of Staff of Vietnamese Army, Vo Van Tuan, has told my colleague in Hanoi, Le Thang Long, the "biggest challenge for our research is to locate the position of the suspect site, especially during the night."
"That's why we have mobilized this morning a boat equipped with radar and equipment which can allow us to inspect under-water zones. I hope this will bring us new discoveries."
05:10 GMT - Passengers - The 153 Chinese passengers aboard the plane included an infant, while 38 Malaysians and seven Indonesians were aboard.
Six Australians, five Indians, four French nationals, and three Americans including an infant, were also among those listed and the Dutch Foreign Ministry said it believed one Dutch passenger was on the plane.
05:06 GMT - Relatives mourn - For the relatives of the 227 passengers -- including 153 Chinese nationals -- and 12 crew, there is little comfort.
Earlier Sunday the airline admitted: "It has been more than 24 hours since we last heard from MH370 at 1:30 am. The search and rescue team is yet to determine the whereabouts of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft."
It then urged "all Malaysians and people around the world to pray for flight MH370."
04:55 GMT - Search goes on - Rescuers are still hunting for the whereabouts of the twin-engine plane which mysteriously disappeared from radar screens somewhere between Malaysia's east coast and southern Vietnam.
Flight MH370 sent no distress signal or reports of rough weather, or other signs of trouble, and both Malaysia's national carrier and the Boeing 777-200 model used on the route are known for their solid safety records.
But about one hour into the flight, it dropped from radar screens.
Adding to the mystery are the two passengers who appear to have been using stolen EU passports.
An Austrian, named in reports as Christian Kozel, had his passport pinched in Thailand in 2012, while Italian Luigi Maraldi, 37, had his stolen last year, also in Thailand, officials and sources have said.
Despite their names being on the passenger manifest, neither man was on the flight.
FBI join investigation
04:52 GMT - US built - The US National Transportation Safety Board could also send a team to join the investigation because the plane was built in the US by Boeing, according to the FBI official.
04:50 GMT - Passports - The stolen passports used by two passengers on the plane are believed to have come from an Italian and an Austrian.
But a Department of Homeland Security official told the media that "just because they were stolen doesn't mean the travelers were terrorists. They could have been nothing more than thieves. Or they could have simply bought the passports on the black market."
04:48 GMT - Video scan - The FBI official stressed there was "no evidence" of terrorism thus far, but added FBI personnel will help review video from the Kuala Lumpur airport for images of passengers at the ticket counter, security sections and the boarding area.
The agents can then use counterterrorism technology to find any possible matches with known members of Al-Qaeda or other terror groups.
04:46 GMT - FBI involved - Earlier US media reported the FBI is sending agents and technical experts to assist in the investigation of the missing plane that had several Americans aboard.
US officials told The Los Angeles Times they are trying to determine whether there was any terror link to what caused Flight 370 to go missing as it carried 239 people from Kuala Lumpur toward Beijing.
"But so far, what happened is a mystery," an official told the newspaper.
04:41 GMT - Terror link - The minister says Malaysia is probing "four names" over airline security fears.
04:33 GMT - WELCOME TO AFP's LIVE REPORT as Malaysia looks at a possible terror link in the disappearance of an airliner believed to have gone down in the sea with 239 people aboard.
The country's transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, says Malaysian security agencies are investigating after it was discovered that two passengers may have boarded missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 using stolen passports, raising fears of potential terrorism.
"At the same time our own intelligence have been activated, and of course, the counterterrorism units... from all the relevant countries have been informed."
UPDATE [1.20pm]: Department of Civil Aviation clarifies earlier statement by the Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, saying only two – not four – passengers had boarded the flight using stolen passports.
CCTV footage shows the two individuals from the check-in point to departure. Footage will be used for investigations.
Malaysia Airlines says a portion of the aircraft wingtip had been repaired by Boeing and was certified safe to fly. They dismissed the possibility of a technical problem and any form of threat prior to this.
A Malaysian military radar showed trace of flight MH370 turning back before it vanished although the pilots did not issue any distress signals.
UPDATE [11.37am]: Malaysian is probing a possible terror link in the disappearance of MH370 and local authorities are working with international intelligence and counter-terrorism units. Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says he has met with officers from the FBI.
The names of the four passengers said to be traveling on fake passports have been sent to local intelligence. The entire passenger manifest will be probed.
Singapore has deployed three vessels to aid in search and rescue. Hishammuddin says MH370 may have made an 'air turn back'. No Malaysian submaries will be deployed as they are not 'equipped for search and rescue' Hishammuddin said.
UPDATE [10.15am]: CNN’s Christine Amanpour reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is sending its agents to Malaysia “to support the investigation into the disappearance of Flight MH370”.
UPDATE [9.55am]: An aviation lawyer said the lack of warnings about a problem aboard the flight suggests a catastrophic failure, possibly due to lack of pressurisation or electrical failure.
UPDATE [9.12am]: Department of Cvil Aviation says overnight search and rescue found no sign of aircraft wreckage. Plane did not any signs of anomaly before contact loss. Mission enters day two with three aircrafts.
Authorities have yet to confirm the identities of two more European passengers on flight MH370 using stolen passports, bringing the total to four suspect identities allegedly onboard.
UPDATE [8.30am]: Bernama reports the Department of Civil Aviation will extend the search and rescue operation to the Straits of Malacca, Malaysian authorities are now awaiting the latest satellite imagery for any signs of wreckage from flight MH370.
UPDATE [7:20am]: Round-up of the first 30 hours, including background, relatives' reactions and social media chatter.
UPDATE [6:02am]: Associated Press runs an analysis on why MH370 could've disappeared. Experts assume that whatever happened was quick and left no time for pilots to react. Read the
UPDATE [5:31am]: This video
was taken in Beijing a few hours ago. Relatives of flight MH370 passengers are not happy with the way the incident is being handled.
UPDATE [4:25am]: Malaysia Airlines 'Go Team' of volunteers have arrived in Beijing to provide support for family members of passengers. They left Malaysia at 4:25pm on Saturday, March 8.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that they will bear all the costs of flying the relatives of the flight MH370 passengers to the location once the plane is found.
UPDATE [2:53am]: The New Straits Times reports that Malaysia's Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will be searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane off the coast of Kelantan. The search operations come after a small piece of canvas was found by personnel involved in the search and rescue operations.
Good weather permitting, the MMEA will expand its areas of search. It has covered a 50 nautical mile radius from MH370's last known location since beginning operations at 11:30am on Saturday.
UPDATE [2:24am]: Singapore's Straits Times reports that the two imposters on MH370, who were using stolen passports, bought their tickets from China Southern Airlines, which code shares the KL-Beijing route with Malaysian Airlines.
UPDATE [1:49am]: The air search for flight MH370 has been suspended for the night. Ships, however, will continue the search mission.
Meanwhile, families of passengers, who were told to prepare their travel documents, have been put up at a hotel near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
UPDATE [12:08am]: Authorities are looking into claims that two foreigners were travelling aboard the MH370 flight with stolen passports. According to several foreign news reports, Italian Luigi Maraldi and Austrian Christian Kozel, both had their passports stolen some time ago.
The Department of Civil Aviation’s director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the airport authorities have examined security footage of the passengers and the baggage.
“This is an issue of security. So far we are satisfied,” he said.
UPDATE [11:38pm]: Conspiracy theories abound around the MH370 disappearance. Authorities refuse to confirm or deny if a passenger was travelling aboard the plane with a stolen passport.
Search and rescue ships from Vietnam are expected to reach the suspected crash site anytime now.
UPDATE [10:52pm]: The search for MH370 will continue into the night, say authorities. The Transport Ministry and the Department of Civil Aviation said the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) are “committed” to continue plying the inky waters between Malaysia and Vietnam until rescue efforts are officially called off.
UPDATE [10:22pm]: Ships from Vietnam are about 130km from the site. Reports say they will reach in 1 1/2 to 2 hours time.
UPDATE [10:04pm]: About 20 top management staff from semiconductor company Freescale Semiconductor were among 38 Malaysians onboard MAS flight MH370. The team comprising senior managers and managers were on their way to China to undergo a month-long course in Beijing.
UPDATE [9:41pm]: Vietnam Television Station, Tuoi Tre News, VNExpress – 3 big news agencies said that:
• 4:30 PM, an AN26 aircraft detected a sign similar to oil streaks 20km in the sea. This oil streak is managed by VN.
• Then, AN26 aircraft spotted a smoke from the sea but not clearly defined. 5:20 PM, AN26 aircraft found that smoke is another oil streak, near Tho Chu islands of VN.
• VN Navy ships are trying to approach 2 oil streaks.
• Maybe at midnight, VN Navy ships can approach the oil streaks.
UPDATE [9:24pm]: Vietnam air force planes spotted a 20km-long oil slick suspected to be from missing Malaysian jetliner, according to Lai Xuan Thanh, the director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.
Anxiety builds up among families of the MH370 flight, after 18 hours of the initial notification.
UPDATE [7:20pm]:Highlights from MH370 press conference, attended by PM Najib Razak:
1. Vietnam navy confirms no evidence of wreckage.
2. 15 aircraft, close to 10 ships in search and rescue operations.
3. Search area expanded within South China Sea. Help from USA, China, Singapore & Vietnam.
4. Najib says satelite imagery cannot be used as it cannot detect anything below water surface.
5. Aircraft manufacturers and FAA have offered help.
6. Najib says rescue operations will continue for as long as it takes.
7. Najib spoke to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and sent his condolences as 153 passengers were Chinese nationals. The Premier says China will help in rescue operations.
8. MAS will arrange flights for family members to Beijing if requested, and for Chinese nationals to Kuala Lumpur.
9. Najib requests that the public do not indulge in speculation. "We can't make conclusions, we are investigating all theories".
10. Dept of Civil Aviation received a call when MH370 went missing at 2.40am; Vietnam airport authorities acknowledged the plane entered its airspace at 1.30am before subsequently losing contact.
UPDATE [6:45pm]: Chinese relatives of passengers are furious at Malaysia Airlines for keeping them in the dark.
"There's no one from the company here, we can't find a single person. They've just shut us in this room and told us to wait," said one middle-aged man, who declined to give his name.
Another relative, trying to evade a throng of reporters, muttered: "They're treating us worse than dogs."
UPDATE [6:24pm]: No sign of wreckage was found off the coast of Malaysia. Earlier, an orange speck was seen where the last signal came from, but a vessel despatched to the location reported that it was nothing.
Kuching Police chief ACP Roslan Bek Ahmad said his niece was a passenger on the MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
UPDATE [6:15pm]: Countries across South-East Asia have launched air and sea search operations to find the missing MH370 plane. It's exact location remains a mystery as it relayed no distress signal, indications of rough weather, or other signs of trouble.
Mohd Lokman Hamid, the younger brother of passengers Norli Akmar Hamid said that he only found out about the news via Facebook.
UPDATE [4:41pm]: Tempers flare. AFP reports that an elderly man, believed to be a family member of one of the passengers of flight MH370, punched a cameraman as he was trying to film events at the Beijing airport.
In Malaysia, 56-year-old Hamid Ramlan fears the worst as he awaits news on the fate of his daughter and son-in-law, who were both on the flight.
UPDATE [4:33pm]: Malaysia Airlines CEO says 80 percent of the family members of the people on board flight MH370 have been contacted.
Meanwhile, acting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein that the authorities were slow to report on the missing Malaysia Airlines place.
UPDATE [3:39pm]: 68-year-old Hajjah Puteh Haji Idris, from Kajang, is in tears. Her daughter-in-law, Nor Fadzillah Mat Rahim, 37, was on flight MH370. Hajjah Puteh received a call from MAS at 6.30am.
" My daughter-in-law was traveling to Beijing for work. She has four kids and I pray that she is safe. She is the best daughter-in-law," she said.
Nor Fadzillah's husband will be at the airport at 6pm to assist in search and rescue.
Members of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Organisation, seen dressed in white pants and dark blue shirts, have been going in and out of the holding area. One member said they were providing counseling for the grief-stricken families.
UPDATE [3:03pm]: At KLIA, the brother of a passenger says relatives are being told to bring a valid passport because they need to 'travel to the crash site'. Relatives have to be at KLIA before 6pm with valid passports for MAS to make 'travel arrangements'.
Police are escorting grief-stricken relatives out of the holding room. Many are distraught and in tears.
UPDATE [2:36pm]: Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein denies reports that signal from aircraft has been received in the south of Vietnam. He says the government has no information of any wreckage at the moment, but 'are looking at all possibilities'.
The Malaysian government has dispatched a plane, two helicopters and four vessels to search seas off its east coast in the South China Sea. The Philippines also sends three navy patrol boats and a surveillance plane.
AFP, in its live report, has several airline safety experts speaking about Malaysia Airlines' safety record.
Malaysia Airlines says all other flights will proceed as usual, for now.
UPDATE [2:13pm]: MH370 has been removed from the arrivals board at the Beijing airport. Local media report that the passengers included 24 Chinese artists on their way back from an art exhibition in Malaysia.
UPDATE [2:06pm]: Members of the media have been barred from entering a special holding area for families of passegers and crew of flight MH370 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Meanwhile, politician Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is being slammed for an insensitive tweet about a 'new Bermuda triangle'.
UPDATE [12:37]: Tuoi Tre, a leading daily in Vietnam, reports that the Vietnamese Navy has confirmed the plane crashed into the ocean. According to Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, Commander of the Region 5, military radar recorded that the plane crashed into the sea at a location 153 miles South of Phu Quoc island.
When contacted, Malaysia Airlines declined to confirm or deny the reports, saying that the Malaysian authorities are working together with the Vietnamese government on the matter.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that China has dispatched two maritime rescue ships to help locate the missing plane.
UPDATE [12:01]: Altogether, 239 passengers & crew, from 14 different nationalities, including two infants. Passengers were from:
1. China - 152 plus 1 infant
2. Malaysia - 38
3. Indonesia - 12
4. Australia - 7
5. France - 3
6. United States of America - 3 plus 1 infant
7. New Zealand - 2
8. Ukraine - 2
9. Canada - 2
10. Russia - 1
11. Italy - 1
12. Taiwan - 1
13. Netherlands - 1
14. Austria - 1
The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53. He has a total flying hours of 18,365 hours.
He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, is aged 27. He has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.
UPDATE [11:32am]: VN Express, Vietnam's largest news site, reports that Vietnam Emergency Rescue Center just announced it has found signal of the missing plane at 9.50am 120 miles South West of Ca Mau cape, the Southern-most point of Vietnam.
The signal is believed to be the ELT (Emergency Locator Transmittor) , which can be activated manually by the flight crew or automatically upon impact.
A Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China has gone missing, the airline said.
Earlier this morning, MAS confirmed that flight MH370 had lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am today (March 8th, 2014)
Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am and was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.
Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft.
MAS Operations Control Vice President Fuad Sharuji said they 'have no idea where the aircraft is right now'.
Source: Yahoo Newsroom