Malaysia Airlines plane crash: 5 missing Indians feared dead

Written by Agencies | Kuala Lumpur | Updated: Mar 8 2014, 23:59pm hrs
Malaysia Airliner crashRelatives of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines react after reports that it went missing over the South China Sea. (AP)
A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew including five Indians, crashed in the South China Sea on Saturday, Vietnamese state media said, quoting a senior naval official.

The fresh list of passengers issued by the airline mentions people of 14 nationalities including Indians. A fresh passengers' list issued by the airline said five Indians were among the 239 passengers on board the aircraft, correcting its previous account in which Indians were not mentioned.

Those on board include 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 5 Indians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 3 French, 4 including an infant from the US, 2 New Zealanders, 2 Ukrainians, 2 Canadians, 1 each from Russia, Italy, Taiwan, Netherlands and Austria.

There is no confirmation about the report from the Malaysian authorities. Chinese media is reporting the plane may have crashed into the South China Sea, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

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The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had been missing for hours when Vietnam's Tuoi Tre news quoted Admiral Ngo Van Phat as saying he had asked boats from an island off south Vietnam to rush to the crash site.

If the report is confirmed, it would mark the U.S.-built airliner's deadliest crash since entering service 19 years ago. Malaysia Airlines had yet to confirm that the aircraft had crashed.

Malaysia Airlines said earlier in the day that no distress signal had been given and cited early speculation that the plane may have landed in Nanming in southern China.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, operating a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia and Vietnam were conducting a joint search and rescue, he said but gave no details. China has also sent two maritime rescue ships to the South China Sea to help in any rescue, state television said on one of its microblogs.

"We are extremely worried," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing before the Vietnamese report that the plane had crashed. "The news is very disturbing. We hope everyone on the plane is safe."

The Malaysia Airlines flight left Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (11.21 a.m. ET Friday) but no trace had been found of the plane hours after it was due to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (5.30 p.m. ET Friday) the same day.