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By Stuart Grudgings and Anuradha Raghu KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew crashed in the South China Sea on Saturday, Vietnamese state media said, quoting a senior naval official. The Boeing 777-200ER flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had been missing for hours when Vietnam's Tuoi Tre news quoted Admiral Ngo Van Phat as saying he had asked boats from an island off south Vietnam to rush to the crash site. Malaysia Airlines had yet to confirm that the aircraft had crashed. Flight MH370, operating a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement read to a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Search and rescue One of its jets crashed in 1977 in southern Malaysia, killing all 93 passengers and seven crew. A smaller Twin Otter aircraft, operated by its unit MASwings, crashed upon landing in Malaysia's Sabah state on Borneo island last October, killing a co-pilot and a passenger.