The Malaysian Airlines plane conveying 239 people has still not been found, but several experts say a tragedy has occurred someway, after an official of the airline confirmed that the plane was carrying 7.5 hours of fuel as at its disappearance before it disappeared 2:40 am on Friday.
It is now 18 hours since the Beijing-bound plane lost touch with the Malaysia air traffic control in Subang two hours into its take-off from Kuala Lumpur, meaning the aircraft must have run out of fuel at about 10:10 am Chinese time, which is more than 10 hours ago.
Relying on Vietnam’s military, Vietnamese and Chinese state media had initially claimed that the plane crashed off the southern coast of Vietnam but acting Malaysian Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has described the claim has incorrect, saying: “The CA (Civil Aviation Authority) says that is not true, and our foreign office says it is not true”.
Malaysia Airlines Vice President of Operations Control, Fuad Sharuji told CNN last night that the airline has “no idea where this aircraft is right now”.
The breakdown of nationalities on the plane is as follows: China (includes Taiwan) 154, 38 Malaysian, 5 Indians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 3 Americans, 4 French nationals, 2 from New Zealand, 2 Ukrainian, 2 Canadians, 1 each from Russia and Italy, Netherlands and Austria.
The United States and Chinese contingents include an infant each. In all the Boeing 777 plane was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia are still conducting search-and-rescue operations south of Tho Chu Island in the South China Sea, using ships, helicopters and military airplanes.
The Boeing 777-200 airliner departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41 a.m. and was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., a 2,300-mile (3,700km) trip, but it never arrived the mainland before vanishing from the radar.