Saturday, March 8, 2014

Malaysia assembles SAR forces after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappears off Vietnamese coast

16:45 hrs 8 Mar'14 edit: Amended all references to a crash pending official confirmation from Malaysia.

Malaysian authorities have sent two Airbus Helicopters EC-725 Caracal (aka Super Cougar. Caracal is a desert lynx) helicopters and at least one Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia (APMM, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency) Bombardier CL-415 flying boat as the vanguard of a search and rescue team tasked for operations at the crash site of to find the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) airliner Flight MH370.

The MAS Boeing 777-200 disappeared over the South China Sea off Vietnam early this morning (8 March'14) en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing The flight was due to arrive in Beijing at 6:30am this morning.

Media reports indicate MH370 had onboard a total number of 239 passengers and crew - comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants) and 12 crew members.

The passengers were of 14 nationalities - citizens 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 pax 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 a codeshare with China Southern Airlines.

Based at Kuantan, the EC-725s serve with the Tentara Udara Diraja Malaysia's (TUDM, Royal Malaysian Air Force) dedicated Combat Search and Rescue unit, Number 10 Squadron.

While Vietnam's eastern seaboard lies outside the area of responsibility for Search and Locate (SAL) coverage provided by the Republic of Singapore Air Force for the Singapore Flight Information Region, we should stand ready to assist Malaysia if need be.

We wish Gading every success in their mission. Stout hearts.

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