Beijing ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 with 239 people on board disappeared shortly after midnight last night without launching any alarm signal while flying over the sea to the south of Vietnam, two hours after departure from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing . The Malay government has not excluded any hypothesis over the cause of the disappearance, even that of a terrorist attack , but has called for "calm". At the moment the aircraft is still given as "missing" , but searches are ongoing for possible wreckage in the sea.
Malaysia Airlines is considered a highly reliable airline, which can boast nearly four decades without any serious incidents: the worst dates back to 1977, when 100 people died . In recent years, the company began to suffer serious economic losses due to competition from low-cost airlines, in particular the Malaysian Air Asia.
The Boeing disappeared while flying over the sea to the south of Vietnam. According to the passenger list, the majority on board were Chinese (153) with 38 Malays, 12 Indonesians, but also Australians, Europeans and Americans. The only Italian on the list, Luigi Maraldi, was at first believed on board: a few hours ago he contacted his parents to tell them he was safe in Thailand.
The Chinese government has recalled the ambassador in Kuala Lumpur, and the President Xi Jinping has called on the Chinese Foreign Ministry , embassies and relevant Chinese departments concerned to "follow the progress of the rescue operations closely, and make every effort to help in issues relating to Chinese citizens".