Malaysia Airlines today said it was "fearing the worst" for its missing plane carrying 239 people and was working with a US company that specialises in disaster recovery to locate the ill-fated aircraft.
The plane had 227 passengers on board, including five Indians and one Indian-origin Canadian, and 12 crew members.
Officials from Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation today said they have dispatched three jets to join the massive search by six countries for Boeing 777-200 Flight MH370.
They said the search effort continued overnight to locate the missing plane. But the mission made little progress as they have not traced any wreckage or debris afloat.
"The search and rescue teams are still unable to detect the whereabouts of the missing aircraft" en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement.
"The airline is continuously working with the authorities in providing assistance. In fearing for the worst, a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, United States, will be assisting Malaysia Airlines in this crucial time.
"Malaysia Airlines reiterates that it will continue to be transparent in communicating with the general public in all matters affecting MH370," it said.
A command centre would be set up either in Kota Baru, in Kelantan state or in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, as soon as it could establish the location of the missing aircraft, it added.
"The Boeing 777-200 did not transmit any abnormalities before the ground control centre in Subang lost contact with it," Department of Civil Aviation Director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said, adding that reports of the sightings of the fuel slicks out at the South China Sea was unverified.
Azharuddin said the plane had disappeared from radar detection at about 1.30am, roughly an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Commenting on how the names of the Austrian and Italian passengers, whose passports had reportedly been stolen, were on the passenger list, Azharuddin said: "We are aware of the stolen passport issue and are carrying out an investigation."
Italian Luigi Maraldi and Austrian Christian Kozel appeared on the passenger manifest list for Flight MH370. Both had reported they had lost their passport and both are safe.
Singapore has sent two warships and a naval helicopter to help in the search for the missing plane.
China dispatched two rescue ships to join the multi-national teams to locate the flight.