An air search for a missing Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was on Saturday night called off until daylight, the company said, as a full list of passengers and crew on board was released by the company.
Five children aged from two to four years - two from the United States and three from China - were among the 239 people on board.
Two French teenagers, aged 14 and 17, were also among the missing, while the eldest flyer was a 79-year-old Chinese national.
A spokesman for the airline said: ”We would like to inform everyone that these are the people onboard our aircraft. All the families and next of kin have been informed.”
A statement from the Vietnamese government said they were consistent with the kind of fuel slicks that would be left from a crashed jet and that they were sending boats to the area.
"Two of our aircraft sighted two oil slicks around 15 to 20 kilometres long, running parallel, around 500 metres apart from each other,” Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan told state-run VTV.
President Xi Jinping ordered the Chinese Foreign Ministry and other authorities to take “all-out efforts” for emergency treatment in the aftermath of the incident, state-run Xinhua reported.
The Boeing 777-200ER plane relayed no distress signal, indications of bad weather or technical problems before vanishing from radar screens some 18 hours ago, as it travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Authorities said they had no idea what had happened to the plane, while Malaysia Airlines said they had "no information" on its whereabouts.
The flight was being piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53, with 18,365 hours' flying experience. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981.
Heartbreaking scenes were played out at Beijing and Kuala Lumpur airports as family and friends awaited news of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, with tempers fraying as some demanded information.
Indonesia-based aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman said the clock was ticking on a “24-hour golden window” for search and rescue efforts.
“You can’t assume that there are no survivors, and if there are any, it is absolutely crucial that they are picked up within a day, or the chances of survival drops significantly,” he said.
The disappearance triggered a South China Sea search effort involving vessels from several nations with rival maritime claims to the region.
China, which has 153 of its nationals on the missing plane, said it had ordered maritime patrol vessels to begin scouring the area.
Vietnam’s defence ministry launched a rescue mission, the government said, and a Malaysian maritime official said the country had sent several planes and vessels.
The Philippines said it was sending three navy patrol boats and a surveillance plane. Singapore dispatched an air force C130 transporter on a ”search and locate mission”. It was not clear if other nations were cooperating.
Throughout the day confusing messages emerged, with the Vietnamese at one point being quoted as saying the plane had crashed into the ocean. The claim was later withdrawn.