U.S. officials told NBC News on Saturday they are investigating terrorism concerns after two people listed as passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines jet were reportedly not to on the plane and reported their passports had been stolen – one a year ago and the other two years ago.
Terror in the sky probed due to stolen passports of listed passengers on missing plane
Luigi Maraldi, 37, was the only Italian on a passenger manifest released by the airline after the Malaysia Flight MH370 jet disappeared over the South China Sea. His father, Walter Maraldi, however told NBC News from Cesena, Italy: “Luigi called us early this morning to reassure us he was fine, but we didn’t know about the accident. Thank God he heard about it before us.”
Luigi Maraldi is vacationing in Thailand, according to his father, who said his son told him that his passport was stolen one year ago.
Austria's foreign ministry confirmed to NBC News that police made contact with another citizen on the passenger list, who reported his passport stolen two years ago while traveling in Asia.
Malaysia airlines said in a statement early Saturday they are attempting to locate the Boeing 777 after it lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2:40 a.m.
There was no distress signal before the plane, with 239 passengers, went down.
One report said seven people on board had stolen passports, while others report that two people had stolen passports.
Vietnamese Navy confirmed Saturday that Malaysia Flight MH370, from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, crashed into the sea off Tho Chu island.
Tuoi Tre quoted Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, Commander of Region 5, as saying that military radar reported that the plane crashed into the sea at a location 246km south of Phu Quoc island.
“The plane lost contact in Ca Mau province airspace before it had entered contact with Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control,” a statement posted on the official Vietnamese government website said.
The plane was meant to transfer to Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control at 1.22am Malaysian time, but never appeared, a statement reported by AFP said, citing a senior Ministry of Defence official.
The Ministry of Defence launched rescue efforts to find the plane, coordinating work with Malaysian and Chinese officials.
The missing Malaysian Airlines flight was carrying 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, and three American among other nationalities, seven with stolen passports, according to latest reports.
The aircraft had left Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30am.
CNN and other outlets are reporting "several of the 239 people on board the missing commercial Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were using stolen passports of citizens from Austria and Italy.
Others reported as seven people on board had stolen passports.
Italian foreign ministry says no Italian was on missing Malaysia flight, despite one Italian listed among passengers.
Austrian foreign ministry says an Austrian citizen reported to be on Malaysian flight is safe in Austria.
Four Americans are among the 239 passengers and crew aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
The search for the commercial jetliner that seemingly vanished with no warning between Malaysia and Vietnam have continued, officials say
While nobody knows what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, it is now suspected that terrorism is involved.
Air traffic controllers lost track of soon after it left Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on its way to Beijing.
Families and loved ones of the 239 passengers and crew aboard expected the worst as they await significant development.
Last night, those family members and loved ones in Beiging were not at the airport waiting. Only press and reporters were there. They were then moved to a hotel for a press conference.
The area of search is focusing in the South China Sea, where Malaysian airspace and Vietnamese airspace meet.
Later Saturday morning, Vietnamese authorities found a 12-mile long oil slick in the Gulf of Thailand, the first sign that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have crashed.
Bits and pieces of information continue to emerge, such as stolen passports, but it remains unclear how they fit into the bigger picture of the missing plane.