HO CHI MINH City, March 9 -- Two transport aircraft of Vietnam's Ministry of Defense headed for the suspected crash sea area on Sunday morning to search for a Malaysia Airlines plane which went missing on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early Saturday, local media reported.
The first AN 26 aircraft took off at 7:00 a.m. local time from southern Tan Son Nhat international airport while the second took off at 7:23 a.m. local time, VNExpress reported.
With advantage of low-flying, the aircraft is suitable for search operation, Dinh Vinh Thang, Vietnam's chief commander of search and rescue, told VNExpress.
AN 26 will search the larger area with focus on south of Tho Chu island near the last known position of flight MH370 before it disappeared off the radar, said Thang.
Meanwhile, there are four Vietnamese naval ships in the area but nothing has been spotted. Another emergency team including seven aircraft and nine ships are ready to set out upon request, said Thang.
At 8:25 a.m. local time, five Vietnamese ships are present at the different color water area where oil slicks were found, but there has been no conclusion if they are connected to the missing Malaysia Airlines carrier, he said.
Earlier on Saturday evening, two Mi 171 helicopters took off from southern Can Tho airport to head for southern Ca Mau airport to reduce the distance to the suspected crash sea area, 120 nautical miles away from Ca Mau tip, according to Thang.
Subang Air Traffic Control had lost contact with the Boeing 777- 200 aircraft, flight MH370, at 2:40 a.m. local time Saturday, about two hours after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur, according to Malaysia Airlines. There were 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, including 154 Chinese passengers.