The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States is deploying a team of agents and technical experts to assist in investigating the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane, according to US media reports.

They quoted a US official as saying the FBI was getting involved because three of the 227 passengers aboard the lost flight were American citizens.

The US official was quoted as saying that the FBI was not ruling out terrorism or any other issue as a possible cause in the jetliner's disappearance.

Meanwhile, the French news agency, AFP, reported a Texas semiconductor firm as having said Saturday that 20 of its employees were confirmed passengers aboard the missing flight.

Among the Freescale Semiconductor employees aboard Flight MH370 were 12 people from Malaysia and eight from China, President and CEO Gregg Lowe was quoted as saying: "At present, we are solely focused on our employees and their families," he was reported to have said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragic event." The Boeing 777-200ER flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing lost contact after taking off at 12.41 am on Saturday from the KL International Airport in Sepang.

It was originally reported that contact was lost at 2.40 am but the Department of Civil Aviation confirmed that the plane went off its radar at 1.30 am.

The plane was carrying 227 passengers of 14 nationalities, most of them Chinese nationals, and 12 crew.
Thirty-eight of the passengers were Malaysians.