This is not political, but it is big, and sad, news.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 has gone missing on a flight to Beijing.
The aircraft left Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. local time on March 8, 2014.
ATC lost contact with the plane at 02:40 a.m. local time on March 8, 2014.
There were 239 people on board.
--More to come--
5:34 PM PT: According to BreakingNews.com, the Malaysia Airlines vice-president has told CNN "we have no idea where this aircraft is right now."
5:38 PM PT: The BBC is reporting that Malaysia Airlines has told them that they will be holding a press conference later today (local time).
5:42 PM PT: There are wide reports that "a flight tracking website said the plane had plunged more than 200 metres and changed course in the last minute that it had transmitted data."
5:46 PM PT: The plane took off at 12:41 a.m. local time in Kuala Lumpur. It has been missing for over ten hours. But it was only a 6 hour flight to Beijing. Thus, it would not have enough fuel to still be in the air. This means that it has come down. The fact that no one knows where it is means that it has come down in a place where no one can get to it at the moment. It looks like it's crashed.
5:52 PM PT: Wikipedia has created an article addressing the flight. The article is "Malaysia Airlines Flight 370".
5:54 PM PT: CTV News has the following report:
"Aviation expert Mark Miller told CTV News Channel the plane was possibly over water, near the north coast of Vietnam, at the time it lost contact with air traffic control."
6:00 PM PT: According to FlightAware.com, at the last known point of contact, the plane was at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,668 metres) and cruising at 539 mph (867 km/h).
The last known location of the flight was 4.7073 degrees latitude and 102.578 degrees longitude.
This would put the last known location above the same island as Kuala Lumpur, which would suggest that the plane did not go missing at this point.
6:02 PM PT: The BBC has this report:
"It was lost in airspace controlled by Vietnam, China's Xinhua state news agency said.
The aircraft did not enter airspace controlled by China and did not make contact with Chinese controllers, the agency added."
H/T to user poco for the update.
6:04 PM PT: The news from Xinhua is being widely reported in other media.
6:09 PM PT: NBC is reporting that the press conference will take place at 9:30 p.m. ET.
6:12 PM PT: Confirmation that the plane is out of fuel. Malaysia Airlines' vice-president told CNN that it had enough fuel for seven hours.
6:21 PM PT: Malaysia Airlines has released a map of the flight path. It does not take the plane over much water. I will try to embed it in my post.
6:25 PM PT: The Australian news website News.com.au has a Sky News report and an image of the flight plan.
The only water the plane crosses is the Gulf of Thailand.
You can see it here:
6:28 PM PT: Don't want to get my hopes up, but this whole thing could be a false alarm. There are unconfirmed reports that the plane has landed in Nanming, China and that passengers has informed their families of their safety.
This is still, however, unconfirmed.
6:28 PM PT: H/T to user AJayne for the previous update.
6:33 PM PT: Bad news: Australia's Sydney Morning Herald has this report:
"Licenced pilot John Preston said that rumours that the aircraft has made an emergency landing in Nanming are unlikely.
"I think we can safely discount that."
He said Chinese authorities had confirmed the plane had not entered their airspace. He said there were several ways for the aircraft to communicate with the authorities but that does not appear to have happened."
6:37 PM PT: More from the Sydney Morning Herald:
""It doesn't sound very good," retired American Airlines captain Jim Tilmon told CNN on Saturday.
He said that the route was mostly overland, which meant that there would be plenty of radars and radios to contact the plane.
"I've been trying to come up with every scenario that I could just to explain this away, but I haven't been very successful.""
6:50 PM PT: Unfortunately, there are now reports that the plane has crashed.
7:11 PM PT: Reuters has this report:
"An official at the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said the plane had failed to check in as scheduled at 1721 GMT (12.21 p.m. ET) while it was flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh city.
"It's code didn't appear in our system," Bui Van Vo, the CAAV's flight control department manager, told Reuters by telephone.
"We are extremely worried," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing. "We are doing all we can to get details. The news is very disturbing. We hope everyone on the plane is safe."
Chinese state TV also said there had not been any immediate reports of a plane crashing in Chinese waters."
7:18 PM PT: The NTSB has referred to "the loss of malaysia MH370".
7:36 PM PT: The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that there was no distress call, and that the pilots had made contact with ATC in Ho Chi Minh.
7:56 PM PT: BreakingNews.com has the following report:
"Malaysia Airlines says it has not yet confirmed missing flight has crashed; Vietnam search and rescue official says no signal received from plane"
7:58 PM PT: According to New Straits Times, Xinhua is reporting that there now has been a signal detected from the plane.
8:07 PM PT: We have some conflicting information. There are now reports that there is no signal.
8:09 PM PT: Pham Hien, a director of the search and rescue mission, has made this statement:
"We have been seeking but no signal from the plane yet. The information on local media about the signal near the Cape Ca Mau was inaccurate."
8:21 PM PT: The National Post is reporting that the plane lost contact with ATC in Ho Chi Minh at 01:20 before losing contact with Kuala Lumpur at 2:40.
8:25 PM PT: Right now, Malaysia Airlines' vice-president is on CNN. He has stated that they do not know if the plane is on land or in water.
8:27 PM PT: He has stated that all methods of communication have failed.
8:28 PM PT: He has stated that the search-and-rescue mission consists of air and sea efforts.
9:21 PM PT: There are suggestions that the plane was struck by a North Korean missile.
9:24 PM PT: Our worst fears have unfortunately come true. I can now confirm that the plane has crashed into water.
May the victims rest in peace.
9:26 PM PT: According to Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, the crash site is 153 miles south of Phu Quoc island.
9:29 PM PT: On social media, we can use the hashtag #PrayForMH370 to support the victims and their relatives.
9:35 PM PT: Reports surrounding a North Korean missile appear to be unrelated to MH370.
9:56 PM PT: There are reports that the plane may have crashed earlier than initially believe.
Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 1:39 PM PT: Oil slicks have been found at sea off the southern tip of Vietnam.
There are investigations of possible foul play after it was revealed that two passengers thought to have been on board have had their passports stolen.
Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 9:09 PM PT: A signal from an emergency locator transmitter has been detected 120 miles south west of Ca Mau Cape.
There may be some debris found.
Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 9:19 PM PT: There are reports that four passengers on the flight were traveling on false passports.
Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 9:20 PM PT: Malaysian officials have said that the plane attempted to turn back to Kuala Lumpur.