Malaysia Airlines says last contact with missing plane over South China Sea

KUALA LUMPUR Fri Mar 7, 2014 10:49pm EST

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A missing Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, the airline said on Saturday.

Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities were working jointly on search operations in the area and the airline could not yet confirm the plane had crashed, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement read to a news conference.

Flight MH 370 operating a Boeing B777-200 aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day.

(Reporting by Anuradha Raghu; writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Paul Tait)

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