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U.S. to Assist Investigation of Missing Malaysian Plane

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A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, center, cries as she is escorted by a woman while leaving a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing airplane, in Beijing, China Sunday, March 9, 2014. Planes and ships from across Asia resumed the hunt Sunday for the Malaysian jetliner missing with 239 people on board for more than 24 hours, while Malaysian aviation authorities investigated how two passengers were apparently able to get on the aircraft using stolen passports. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) AP Photo/Andy Wong

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.

A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, center, cries as she is escorted by a woman while leaving a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing airplane, in Beijing, China Sunday, March 9, 2014. (Image source: AP/Andy Wong)

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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