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Stolen passports Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Missing plane a terrorist act?

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from the radar with 239 people on board on March 8, 2013. CNN reports that two passengers on the missing plane's manifest match the names on two passports that were recently reported stolen in Thailand, prompting investigators to question if the flight's disappearance suggests a terrorist act.

Missing Malaysia Airlines mystery continues
Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images

The plane, headed for Beijing left Kuala Lumpur just after midnight on Saturday. Malaysia’s civil aviation department states that air traffic control reportedly lost contact with the plane at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Investigators have been trying to find out what happened to the plane, speculating at first that it could have crashed due to pilot error, mechanical failure or bad weather.

The discovery of the stolen passports adds to the mystery of the missing plane, but officials have yet to confirm that they think this could be a terrorist act.

The missing passports belong to Luigi Maraldi, 37, an Italian man vacationing in Thailand and Christian Kozel, 30, from Austria. Maraldi recently reported his passport stolen and Kozel's passport was stolen about two years ago.

Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, told reporters on Saturday that the airline is "not ruling out anything," but, for now, the stolen passports issue is "just a report."

American Intelligence officials have not issued an official statement about the passports, but spoke to a New York Times reporter on the condition of anonymity stating, "At this time, we have not identified this as an act of terrorism" and while the stolen passports are "interesting, they don’t necessarily say to us that this was a terrorism act.”

The missing Boeing 777-200 had 239 people aboard when it took off for Beijing on Saturday. Although there were oil slicks spotted on the surface of the Gulf of Thailand, there are no other clues that confirmed that the plane may have crashed.

The New York Times reports that the Malaysia Airlines plane recently passed inspection and authorities had not received any distress signals from the aircraft while inflight. There were no reports of bad weather when the crew last made contact with air traffic control.

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