#PrayForMH370: Elderly lady weeps for missing daughter-in-law

A search is launched after contact lost with Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

UPDATE [3:39pm]: 68-year-old Hajjah Puteh Haji Idris, from Kajang, is in tears. Her daughter-in-law, Nor Fadzillah Mat Rahim, 37, was on flight MH370. Hajjah Puteh received a call from MAS at 6.30am. 

" My daughter-in-law was traveling to Beijing for work. She has four kids and I pray that she is safe. She is the best daughter-in-law," she said. 

Nor Fadzillah's husband will be at the airport at 6pm to assist in search and rescue.

Members of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Organisation, seen dressed in white pants and dark blue shirts, have been going in and out of the holding area. One member said they were providing counseling for the grief-stricken families. 

UPDATE [3:03pm]: At KLIA, the brother of a passenger says relatives are being told to bring a valid passport because they need to 'travel to the crash site'. Relatives have to be at KLIA before 6pm with valid passports for MAS to make 'travel arrangements'.

Police are escorting grief-stricken relatives out of the holding room. Many are distraught and in tears.

UPDATE [2:36pm]: Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein denies reports that signal from aircraft has been received in the south of Vietnam. He says the government has no information of any wreckage at the moment, but 'are looking at all possibilities'.

The Malaysian government has dispatched a plane, two helicopters and four vessels to search seas off its east coast in the South China Sea. The Philippines also sends three navy patrol boats and a surveillance plane.

AFP, in its live report, has several airline safety experts speaking about Malaysia Airlines' safety record. Read it here.Malaysia Airlines says all other flights will proceed as usual, for now.

UPDATE [2:13pm]: MH370 has been removed from the arrivals board at the Beijing airport. Local media report that the passengers included 24 Chinese artists on their way back from an art exhibition in Malaysia.

UPDATE [2:06pm]: Members of the media have been barred from entering a special holding area for families of passegers and crew of flight MH370 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Meanwhile, politician Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is being slammed for an insensitive tweet about a 'new Bermuda triangle'.

UPDATE [12:37]: Tuoi Tre, a leading daily in Vietnam, reports that the Vietnamese Navy has confirmed the plane crashed into the ocean. According to Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, Commander of the Region 5, military radar recorded that the plane crashed into the sea at a location 153 miles South of Phu Quoc island. Full story here.

When contacted, Malaysia Airlines declined to confirm or deny the reports, saying that the Malaysian authorities are working together with the Vietnamese government on the matter.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that China has dispatched two maritime rescue ships to help locate the missing plane.

UPDATE [12:01]: Altogether, 239 passengers & crew, from 14 different nationalities, including two infants. Passengers were from: 

1. China - 152 plus 1 infant

2. Malaysia - 38

3. Indonesia - 12

4. Australia - 7

5. France - 3

6. United States of America - 3 plus 1 infant

7. New Zealand - 2

8. Ukraine - 2

9. Canada - 2

10. Russia - 1

11. Italy - 1

12. Taiwan - 1

13. Netherlands - 1

14. Austria - 1

The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53. He has a total flying hours of 18,365 hours. 

He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, is aged 27. He has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.

UPDATE [11:32am]: VN Express, Vietnam's largest news site, reports that Vietnam Emergency Rescue Center just announced it has found signal of the missing plane at 9.50am 120 miles South West of Ca Mau cape, the Southern-most point of Vietnam. 

The signal is believed to be the ELT (Emergency Locator Transmittor) , which can be activated manually by the flight crew or automatically upon impact. 

A Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China has gone missing, the airline said.

Earlier this morning, MAS confirmed that flight MH370 had lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am today (March 8th, 2014)

Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am and was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.

Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft.

Speaking on CNN's AC360, MAS Operations Control Vice President Fuad Sharuji said they 'have no idea where the aircraft is right now'.


"We tried to call this aircraft through various means," he was quoted as saying. Sharuji told CNN that the aircraft was carrying 7.5 hours of fuel at the time of its disappearance (2.40am).

CNN also spoke to retired American Airlines Capt. Jim Tilmon who said the route taken by the aircraft had plenty of antennae, radar and radios for contact and that the plane was 'as sophisticated as any commercial airplane could possibly be with an excellent safety record'.