Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
06:26 GMT - Ships sent - Faridah Shuib, a spokeswoman for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency says Malaysian authorities have dispatched a plane, two helicopters and four vessels to search seas off its east coast in the South China Sea. The Philippines says it is sending three navy patrol boats and a surveillance plane to help efforts. 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.
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.
China recorded an unexpected trade deficit of $22.98 billion in February, official figures showed Saturday, with authorities blaming the country's holiday season for the weak performance. The figure compared with a surplus of $14.8 billion in the same month last year, and a median forecast of an $11.9 billion surplus in a poll of 13 economists by Dow Jones Newswires. Exports fell 18.1 percent to $114.10 billion, while imports were up 10.1 percent to $137.08 billion during the month, which included most of the Lunar New Year holiday, the General Administration of Customs said. Analysts played down the deficit -- China's first in 11 months -- saying improving foreign demand bodes well for the country's trade this year.