By Stuart Grudgings KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing over the South China Sea on Saturday, prompting China to send ships to scour the water for possible wreckage. It said there had been no distress signal and it cited early speculation that the plane may have landed in Nanming in southern China. As news of the disappearance filtered through to distraught friends and relatives who had been waiting for the flight to arrive in Beijing, Malaysia Airlines said it was still investigating and took no questions at a brief news conference. 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 the 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.