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U.S. To Assist In Malaysia Air Crash Investigation

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Ignatius Ong, a member of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) crisis management team, reacts as he prepares to answer a question at a press conference in Beijing on March 9, 2014. Malaysia on March 9 launched a terror probe into the disappearance the day before of the MAS passenger jet, carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, investigating suspect passengers who boarded with stolen passports, as relatives begged for news of their loved ones. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit sho | WANG ZHAO via Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal safety officials say a team of experts is en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner that disappeared with 239 people on board.

The team includes accident investigators from National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.

The Boeing 777-200 went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

The safety board said in a statement Saturday the team was sent now because of the travel time involved even though the plane hasn't yet been found.

The board said that once the plane is found, International Civil Aviation Organization protocols will determine which country will lead the investigation.