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Missing airliner carrying 239 triggers Southeast Asia search

HANOI - Malaysia and Vietnam on Saturday led a search for a Malaysia Airlines jet that has gone missing over Southeast Asia, as fears mounted over the fate of the 239 people aboard.

Vietnam authorities said contact with Flight MH370 was lost near its airspace, but its exact location and what happened to it remained a mystery 12 hours after it slipped off air-traffic control screens.

Malaysia Airlines said the plane, on an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, relayed no distress signal, indications of rough weather, or other signs of trouble.

"The plane lost contact near Ca Mau province airspace as it was preparing to transfer to Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control," a statement on the official Vietnamese government website said.

Its signal never appeared to Ho Chi Minh City controllers, it said. Ca Mau province is in southernmost Vietnam, next to the Cambodian border.

Vietnam’s defence ministry has launched a search for the plane, the statement added.

Malaysian authorities also dispatched a plane, two helicopters and four vessels to search seas off its east coast in the South China Sea, said Faridah Shuib, a spokeswoman for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

The Philippines said it was sending three navy patrol boats and a surveillance plane to help efforts.

AFP


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