Search Continues for Missing Plane With 239 People Aboard

March 8, 2014; 7:30 AM ET
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The main weather concern for search crews in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand is building seas. Visit this news story for more information.

Malaysia Airlines officials said in a statement that they've lost contact with a Beijing destined commercial aircraft carrying 239 people, which includes two infants and 12 crew members.

At the time of the flight, some light rain and snow was occurring in South and Central China, AccuWeather Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

Skies were mainly clear across the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand at the same time. Lightning detection maps obtained by indicate the area was free of thunderstorms.

Flight MH370 made its departure from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. local time on March 8. The Boeing 777-200 was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. local time.

"Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft," they said in a statement. "We are still trying to locate the current location of the flight based on the last known position of the aircraft," the statement continued saying.

Malaysian Airlines said that they have not received any emergency signals or distress messages.

A woman wipes her tears after walking out of the reception center and holding area for family and friend of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

According to the statement, Subang Air Traffic Control reported that they lost contact at 2.40 a.m., Malaysia time.

According to, the plane reached an altitude of 35,000 feet.

"Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support," Malaysia Airlines said in the statement, notifying next-of-kin with how to get in contact with the airline. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members. The airline will provide regular updates on the situation."

Reppert said there was some light precipitation over South and Central China, but any precipitation that would have formed would have been well below the flight level at around 15,000 feet.

Vietnamese State Media reports that the missing airliner crashed off the Vietnam Coast, citing the report from the Vietnamese Navy. The Malaysian Acting Transport Minister said there has been no sign of any wreckage in the sea so far.

For updates follow Malaysia Airline's official statement.


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