Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with an aircraft carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
The airline says that the Boeing 777 departed from Kuala Lumpur on early Saturday morning local time and was expected in Beijing at 5:30 p.m. ET on Friday.
The airline said it lost contact with the plane about two hours into its flight.
“Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft,” the airline said in a statement posted to its Facebook page.
This is a breaking news story. We’ll update as soon as we have more.
Update at 12:28 a.m. ET
As the search continues, China’s Xinhua news agency said the airplane lost contact in Vietnam’s air space. An airline executive told CNN that the airliner’s last communication was over the South China Sea, between Malaysia and Vietnam.
China’s CCTV tweeted that China has sent two ships to the South China Sea for rescue operations.
Update at 10:36 p.m. ET. 4 Americans:
Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said during a televised press conference that four Americans, including an infant, were on flight MH370.
Yahya said the man piloting the plane was Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian, who joined the airline in 1981.
Yahya said that that they were working to verify the authenticity of a report that claimed the aircraft had landed at Nanming in China.
“Our focus now is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support,” he said.
Yahya also clarified that the passengers on the plane are from 14 different countries — 153 of them are Chinese nationals.
Update at 10:10 p.m. ET. Anomalies In Radar:
The industry publication The Aviation Herald has looked at some of radar information available and this is what they have to say:
“According to The Aviation Herald’s radar data the aircraft was last regularly seen at 17:22Z (01:22L) about half way between Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) at FL350 over the Gulf of Thailand about 260nm northnortheast of Kuala Lumpur 40 minutes into the flight, followed by anomalies in the radar data of the aircraft over the next minute (the anomalies may be related to the aircraft but could also be caused by the aircraft leaving the range of the receiver).
“Aviation sources in China report that radar data suggest a steep and sudden descent of the aircraft, during which the track of the aircraft changed from 024 degrees to 333 degrees. The aircraft was estimated to contact Ho Chi Minh Control Center (Vietnam) at 01:20L, but contact was never established.”
This matches with the reporting of the Chinese news agency Xinhua, which says contact and radar signal was lost near the Ho Chi Minh zone.
Update at 9:30 p.m. ET. Emergency Response Activated:
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi opened a pre-scheduled press conference by saying the news coming out of Kuala Lumpur is “very disturbing.”
Wang said that “the related departments have activated emergency response mechanism.”
Update at 8:55 p.m. ET. Notifying Next Of Kin:
In a new statement, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the airline is notifying the next of kin.
The passengers on the plane are from 14 different nationalities.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members,” Yahya said.
Boeing, meanwhile, tweeted that that they were monitoring reports.
“Our thoughts are with everyone on board,” Boeing said.