Desperate search on for missing Indians

Five Indian nationals were among the 227 passengers on board the missing Beijing-bound Malaysian Airlines flight, according to a statement released by the carrier.

The Boeing 777-200 went missing over the South China Sea early on Saturday after air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft around two hours after it departed from Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am (10.11 pm IST on Friday night).

The airline said in an updated statement released at 8 am IST that there were 227 passengers and 12 crew were on board, including passengers from 14 countries.

On board the Boeing 777-200 aircraft were 227 passengers and 12 crew, including: five Indian passengers, 153 Chinese nationals, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians and travellers from the United States, France and eight other nations.

Among the Indian passengers was a family of three from Mumbai: Swanand (23), Chetana (55) and Vinod (59) Kolekar, who were travelling to Beijing to meet their son Sanved.

Travelling from Chennai was Chandrika Sharma (51), en route to Mongolia for a conference. Kranti Pralhad Shirshath (44) was journeying via Beijing to North Korea, where her husband was employed.

The airline said it was currently calling next of kin of passengers and crew members. A statement said the flight was piloted by 53 year-old Malaysian captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who had a total of 18,365 hours flying experience and had flown with the airline since 1981.