The pilot and first officer of missing Malaysian airlines Flight MH370 are identified as two Malaysian men, pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and first officer, Fariq Ab (Abdul) Hamid. Shah is 53 years old, Hamid is 27 years old. Shah has been with the airline since 1981. Hamid since 2007. Two unidentified passengers were aboard using two stolen passports; one passport belonging to an Italian man in August of 2013 and one belonging to an Austrian man, who reported his passport stolen two years ago. Both passports were stolen in Thailand. Both countries have confirmed that their citizens, believed to be Austrian Christian Kozel, and Italian Luigi Maraldi were both in their home countries at the time the news broke. Flight MH370 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
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Three Americans were aboard, identified as Phillip Wood, 51, Nocolechd Meng, 4 and Yan Zhang, 2.
The plane was a Boeing 777-200. Two oil slicks have been found off the southern coast of Vietnam, but wreckage has not been sighted at this time.
A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines said Friday that the passengers also included travelers from Canada, Britain, Australia, France, India, the Netherlands, Russia and several other countries.
“An international search and rescue mission from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam was mobilized this morning. At this stage, they have failed to find evidence of any wreckage. The sea mission will continue overnight while the air mission will recommence at daylight,” Malaysia Airlines said in a statement posted on its website at 2 a.m. local time Sunday.
Flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:55 a.m. local time Saturday, and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., the airline said. It went missing two hours into the flight and disappeared off the radar
The plane’s route would take the aircraft from Malaysia across to Vietnam and China. Vietnam said on its official website that its air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane “in Ca Mau province airspace before it had entered contact with Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control.” Ca Mau is near the southern tip of Vietnam.
The plane was meant to transfer to Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control at 1722 GMT but never appeared, the statement said, citing a senior Ministry of Defense official. Source: ABC News
UPDATE: Captain Shah had 18,365 hours of air experience with the airlines. Hamid with 7 years with Malaysian Air had 2,763 hours of experience.
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