Search stepped-up for missing Malaysia Airlines flight

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Search stepped-up for missing Malaysia Airlines flight

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The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is being intensified amid fears it may have crashed.

The plane, a Boeing 777, was reportedly carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it took off.

It lost contact with air traffic control around an hour after taking off, early on Saturday morning local time.

Search operations are being focused in the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Malaysia Airlines’ chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, says the company’s focus is on helping the families of those missing.

There are no images from the scene yet, but Vietnamese rescue planes have reported spotting large oil slicks and a column of smoke off its coastline. It was not immediately sure if these were related to the fate of the missing aircraft.

No reports of bad weather had been logged and there was no indication of why the plane would have vanished from radar screens.

Early on Saturday, Malaysia’s transport minister also made a statement to press saying Malaysian authorities are doing “everything in their power to locate the plane.”