According to CBS/Reuters, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 nearly a day after the aircraft was scheduled to arrive in Beijing, 239 souls continue to remain missing on an airliner that was scheduled to arrive in 0630 hours local time on Saturday (March 8).
Strangely, the airline, speaking several hours after the plane had been due to land in the Chinese capital, said it was still too early so say whether the aircraft had crashed. It said there had been no distress signal and it cited early speculation that the plane may have landed in Nanming in southern China.
COMMENT: Who is fooling who?
Does Malaysia Airlines seriously think that the airline doesn't already know whether Flight MH370 arrived in Nanming?
Does MH not realize the emotional ramifications on families and relatives who were waiting for the the airline to arrive in Beijing?
Strangely, the airline took no questions at its brief news conference, which should put it close to zero on empathy.
It said the passengers were of 13 different nationalities, including 153 from China and four from the United States.
Flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur at 1241 hours on Saturday local time, according to a statement from the airline. It was scheduled to land in Beijing 0630 hours local time.
Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities were working jointly on search operations in the area. China has dispatched two maritime rescue ships to the South China Sea to help in rescue work, state television reported.
An official at the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said the plane had failed to check in as scheduled while it was flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City.
China's official Xinhua news agency also quoted the Civil Aviation Administration of China as saying the flight lost contact while flying through Vietnamese airspace.
The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian, 53. He has a total of 18,365 flying hours and joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981.
If the airliner is found to have crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year, after an unblemished safety record since the jet entered service in 1995.
Last summer, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash landed in San Francisco, killing three passengers.
The downside of a commercial airliner disappearing in a developing country such as Vietnam is that few developing countries actually have the ground navigation detection systems that most developed countries have employed for decades.
Clearly, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a component of the United Nations, should be calling for a critical review as to why it has taken so long for a Boeing 777 to be located so long after it was scheduled to arrive in Beijing.
Breaking news: An oil slick six miles long has reportedly been observed off the coast of Vietnam, although readers should be cautioned that there is no certainty that the oil slick is from the missing 777.