Malaysian plane crashed off Vietnam coast: state media

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, reporters crowd at Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China Saturday, March 8, 2014 following a report that a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 lost contact on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Luo Xiaoguang) NO SALES

HANOI (Reuters) - A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew crashed into the sea 153 miles off the coast of Vietnam's Tho Chu island on Saturday, according to a Vietnamese navy officer quoted by state media.

"At the moment there are no Vietnamese navy boats in that area so we have to ask boats from Phu Quoc island to be prepared for rescue," Admiral Ngo Van Phat told the website of Tuoi Tre news.

Tho Chu and Phu Quoc lie to the southwest of southern Vietnam.

The admiral could not be reached by telephone. It was not immediately clear how he knew where the plane had crashed or whether wreckage had been spotted.

The plane last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, the airline said.

(Reporting by Nguyen Phuong Linh; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Nick Macfie)