A Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 people on board has crashed into the sea after losing contact with air traffic control 12 hours ago, say reports.
The Boeing 777-200 was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished around two hours into the flight.
Vietnamese state media quoted a navy official as saying Flight MH370 crashed near Tho Chu island, off Vietnam’s south coast, at around 2.40am local time.
All ships in the local area have been sent to the scene to look for survivors.
China’s Xinhua news agency said teams from Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore are involved in the search near Tho Chu island.
However, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Seri Hishammuddin told reporters: “There is no information on any wreckage, but we are looking at all possibilities.”
Journalist Leo Lewis, at Beijing airport, told Sky News families were waiting anxiously for news of their relatives.
He said there were “scenes of considerable distress” and “increasing irritation” because of a lack of information about their fate.
Malcolm Moore, the Daily Telegraph’s Beijing Correspondent, said the relatives have been taken by bus to a hotel in the centre of Beijing.
He told Sky News: “There has been no official confirmation (about what has happened), but it’s looking increasingly grim.”
The plane left Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am local time and was due to arrive in Beijing at 6.30am local time.
Malaysia Airlines said the flight was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members.
They were from 14 countries – 152 plus one baby from China, 38 from Malaysia, 12 from Indonesia, seven from Australia, three plus one baby from the US, three from France, two from New Zealand, two from Ukraine, two from Canada, one from Russia, one from Italy, one from Taiwan, one from Netherlands, and one from Austria.
The aircraft was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian with a total of 18,365 flying hours. He joined the company in 1981.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement.
The airline said it would provide “regular updates” on the situation and has set up the phone line +603 7884 1234 for concerned members of the public.
China’s state news agency said the plane lost communication with air traffic control in southern Vietnam.