The Los Angeles Times reported in today’s edition (March 8, 2014) that three American passengers were on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that vanished yesterday shortly after departing from Kuala Lampur on a flight to Beijing. The plane was carrying 239 passengers.
The newspaper said that passports identified the three US citizens as Tallmadge Wood, Nicole Meng and Leo Meng. Most of the other passengers, according to the Times and additional sources, were from China and Malaysia with others from France, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Canada, Austria, Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria.
According to an on-line story today from AOL, “The plane disappeared without giving a distress signal - a chilling echo of an Air France flight that crashed into the South Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. It vanished for hours before wreckage was found.” The AOL report said that search and rescue vessels from the Malaysian maritime enforcement agency reached the area where the plane last made contact at about 4.30 p.m. Singapore time (0830 GMT) but saw no immediate sign of wreckage, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told Reuters.
The flight took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (11.21 a.m. ET Friday). So far there is no trace of the plane although Reuters reported that it is suspected that the flight may have crashed into the sea off the Vietnamese coast. Malaysia Airlines has one of the best safety records among full-service carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.