The troubling and unsettling news regarding the MH370 flight broke on Saturday, March 8th, 2014.
LATEST UPDATES: Australia sent out a second RAAF aircraft from Darwin this morning to join in the search for the MH370 that has been missing since early Saturday morning.
The first RAAF AP-3C Orion was sent on Sunday night and the second aircraft left Darwin at 8.30(AEDT) this morning, Australian Associated Press reports.
Mark Binskin, Air Marshal says the maritime patrol and long-range surveillance aircraft were equipped with sensors and electro-optic detectors that were perfect for the operation. There are 18 Australian crew members on board of each RAAF jet.
Six Australians and two New Zealanders, one of who lives in Perth, were on the MH370 plane that disappeared over the South China Sea early on Saturday morning, one hour into what was supposed to be a six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Authorities are examining links to terrorism as two of the flight’s 227 passengers were found to have used stolen passports. Julie Bishop, Australian Foreign Minister, contacted her Malaysian counterpart to offer Australia’s support and has been in touch since.
She said the reports of stolen passports were concerning.
“There may be no connection at all but it is a worrying development,” Julie told ABC radio on Monday.
“Our officials are in urgent and ongoing contact with authorities in Malaysia.”
Malaysia has set up a rescue co-ordination centre and dozens of ships and aircraft were looking for the missing aircraft, she said.
Countries like China, Philippines, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam have also joined in and sent resources to partake in the search.
Families of the Australians on board were receiving consular assistance, Julie said.
According to the latest media statement by Malaysia Airlines, Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) has confirmed that search and rescue teams from the mentioned countries have came forward to assists in the search. However, the airline’s primary focus right now is to care for the families.
Malaysia Airlines will be providing the families of the passengers on board with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation, meals, medical and emotional support. The costs for these will be borne by Malaysia Airlines.
Initial financial assistance has been given out to all families over and above their basic needs and at least one caregiver — well-trained staff and volunteers from Malaysia and other organisations has been assigned to each family.
As of now, there are more than 150 “Go Team” members consisting of senior management and caregivers at Beijing to attend to these families. In Kuala Lumpur, a different group of caregivers are attending to the families’ needs.
Malaysia Airlines is working closely with the government of China to expedite the issuance of passports for the families as well as with the immigration of Malaysia for their visas into Malaysia.
MAS Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing about an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on Saturday. It should have landed in Beijing at 6.30am.