Missing Plane Found
March 8, 2014 by staff
Missing Plane Found, A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew went missing off the Vietnamese coast on Saturday and was presumed to have crashed. There were no reports of bad weather and no sign why the Boeing 777-200ER would have vanished from radar screens about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. There were no signs of sabotage nor claims of a terrorist attack.
However, in Europe, news reports and officials said at least two people on board may have been carrying stolen passports.
The Italian foreign ministry said in Rome that an Italian was listed on the flight’s manifest although no national from the country was on board.
The passenger list provided by the airline includes Luigi Maraldi, 37, an Italian citizen. Newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported that Maraldi’s passport was stolen in Thailand last August. The Italian Interior Ministry was unable to immediately comment on the report.
In Vienna, the Austrian foreign ministry said an Austrian listed among the passengers was safe and had reported his passport stolen two years ago while he was travelling in Thailand.
Asked for a possible explanation for the plane’s disappearance, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a news conference: “We are not ruling out any possibilities.”
By late on Saturday night, there were no confirmed signs of the plane or any wreckage, over 20 hours after it went missing. Operations will continue through the night, officials said.
Vietnam said its rescue planes had spotted two large oil slicks and a column of smoke off its coastline, but it was not clear if they were connected to the missing plane.
“We sent two maritime boats and some military boats there to clarify, each boat with about 20 people,” Pham Quy Tieu, vice minister of transportation, told Reuters by telephone on Saturday evening. “The oil spills are about 15km long. Those boats will be there in about three to four hours.”
A crash, if confirmed, would likely mark the U.S.-built airliner’s deadliest incident since entering service 19 years ago. And it would also mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year.
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