Fears for Australians on board missing flight
Six Australians are among 239 people feared dead after a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Nine News.PT3M53S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-34exs 620 349 March 9, 2014
Australia will send two RAAF aircraft to help search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says his Malaysian counterpart has accepted an offer of the P-3C long-range maritime surveillance aircraft. One plane left Darwin on Sunday night and the other left on Monday morning.
Six Australians and two New Zealanders, one who lives in Perth, are feared dead after the Boeing 777-200 disappeared over the South China Sea early on Saturday morning, two hours into what should have been a six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Chinese police in front of the arrival board showing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (top-red) at Beijing Airport. Photo: AFP
Authorities are examining links to terrorism, with two of the flight's 239 passengers found to be using stolen passports.
''This afternoon I spoke to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to convey Australia's condolences on the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and offer our assistance with the search for the missing aircraft,'' Mr Abbott said in a statement late on Sunday.
''Prime Minister Najib has accepted this offer.
''On behalf of Australia, I again offer my deepest sympathies to the families of the passengers and crew on board the Malaysian Airlines flight.''
The Orions, of which Australia has 19 in total, will be based at Butterworth in Malaysia's Penang province and their sophisticated equipment is expected to be able to detect the plane's black box recorder.
Relatives of Queensland couple Cathy and Bob Lawton have thanked Australians for their support but say they are braced for bad news.
In a statement released by Queensland police the family said they were trying to remain positive for any hope of survivors, but were bracing themselves for the worst possible outcome.
The Lawtons were travelling to Beijing with another Brisbane couple, Rodney and Mary Burrows.
The wife of a Perth man on board a missing Malaysia Airlines jet is also praying for a miracle that he will return home safely.
Engineer Paul Weeks was travelling to Mongolia for his first shift in a fly-in-fly-out job.
His wife, Danica, said she was desperately waiting for news of him.Mr Weeks was listed as one of two New Zealand passengers despite now living in Australia.