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US sending team to assist in investigation of missing Malaysia Airlines jet

An oil spill is seen from a Vietnamese Air Force plane in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

Trung Hieu/Thanh Nien Newspaper via REUTERS

An oil spill is seen from a Vietnamese Air Force plane in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

WASHINGTON — 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 the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.

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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.

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