News / Asia

    Two on Missing Malaysia Flight Had Stolen Passports

    Families Wait for Word on Vanished Malaysia Flighti
    X
    William Ide
    March 08, 2014 5:43 PM
    Vietnamese rescue planes searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet spotted two large oil slicks in the area where the aircraft vanished. VOA's Bill Ide has the latest from Beijing, where passengers' relatives gathered. ((NARRATOR))
    VIDEO: VOA's Bill Ide has the latest from Beijing, where passengers' relatives gathered in hopes of learning more about the fates of their loved ones.
    VOA News
    Officials say two passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet were traveling with stolen passports.

    Two men listed on the flight's manifesto — one from Italy and another from Austria — never boarded the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing that disappeared early Saturday carrying 239 people. Both men had their passports stolen in Thailand in the last two years. It is not clear who was flying with the stolen documents.

    The Austrian is in his home country and the Italian is still living in Thailand.

    U.S. officials say they are still looking at the disappearance as if it is an accident, but Malaysian officials say they are not ruling anything out.

    The Vietnamese government sent rescue boats where search planes spotted two large oil slicks off the southern tip of the country shortly after the airliner vanished on Saturday.

    The slicks — each about 15 kilometers long — are the first potential traces found since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared early with 239 passengers and crew on board.

    The Pentagon has dispatched a naval destroyer and a surveillance plane to aid in the search, and ships and aircraft from Malaysia, Vietnam, China and the Philippines have concentrated their search in an area about 240 kilometers off the coast of Vietnam's southwestern Tho Chu island. Vietnamese authorities say that is where they last detected a signal from the Boeing 777-200.

    "The search and rescue operations will continue as long as necessary," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. He said 15 air force aircraft, six navy ships and three coast guard vessels had been pressed into service by Malaysia.

    A Vietnamese naval commander had told state media that the missing plane could have crashed in Malaysian waters.

    This screengrab from flightradar24.com shows the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Mar. 7, 2014.This screengrab from flightradar24.com shows the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Mar. 7, 2014.
    x
    This screengrab from flightradar24.com shows the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Mar. 7, 2014.
    This screengrab from flightradar24.com shows the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Mar. 7, 2014.
    However, Malaysian acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein told a news conference that he had not been informed that the plane had been located and no wreckage has been sighted.

    "We are doing everything in our power to locate the plane. We are doing everything we can to ensure every possible angle has been addressed," Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

    "We are looking for accurate information from the Malaysian military. They are waiting for information from the Vietnamese side," he said.

    Vanished after reaching 35,000 feet

    The airline said it lost all contact with Flight MH370 about an hour after it took off from the Malaysian capital early Saturday morning local time.

    Malaysian Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain, right, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar. 8, 2014.Malaysian Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain, right, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar. 8, 2014.
    x
    Malaysian Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain, right, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar. 8, 2014.
    Malaysian Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain, right, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar. 8, 2014.
    Flight MH370 last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement.

    At a news conference Saturday, he said the airline was working with search and rescue teams to locate the aircraft and was calling the families of the passengers and crew.

    The company's Facebook page said people from 14 nationalities were among the 227 passengers, including at least at least 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians and four French. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said three Americans were on board the flight.

    "The Australian government fears the worst for those aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370," a spokeswoman for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

    Flight tracking website flightaware.com showed the plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from the website's tracking records a minute later while it was still climbing.

    China's official Xinhua news agency said contact with the plane was lost in Vietnamese airspace. It said the plane never entered China's air traffic control area.  Vietnamese officials said the flight disappeared about a minute short of entering Vietnamese airspace. 

    • A relative of Norliakmar Hamid and Razahan Zamani, passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane, cries at their house in Kuala Lumpur.
    • A man takes pictures of a flight information board displaying the Scheduled Time of Arrival (STA) of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (top, in red) at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Mar. 8, 2014.
    • A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries, surrounded by journalists, at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China.
    • This screengrab from flightradar24.com shows the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
    • In this photo released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Western Command PIO, Filipino government troopers look at a map as they continue the search for the missing plane of Malaysian Airlines at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province.
    • Family members of those onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight walk into the waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
    • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, arrives at the reception center and holding area for family and friend of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur.
    • A family member of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane is mobbed by journalists at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur.
    • A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital International Airport, China.
    • A spokesperson, right, from the Malaysia Airlines speaks to the media during a news conference at a hotel in Beijing, China. Search teams across Southeast Asia scrambled to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early morning.

    'Extremely worried'

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing that China was "extremely worried" about the fate of the plane and those on board.

    Chinese relatives of passengers angrily accused the airline of keeping them in the dark, while state media criticised the carrier's poor response.

    "There's no one from the company here, we can't find a single person. They've just shut us in this room and told us to wait," said one middle-aged man at a hotel near Beijing airport where the relatives were taken.

    In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines told passengers' next of kin to come to the international airport with their passports to prepare to fly to the crash site, which has still not been identified.

    About 20-30 families were being kept in a holding room at the airport, where they were being guarded by security officials and kept away from reporters.

    The flight left Kuala Lumpur around 12:40 a.m. (1640 GMT Friday) and was due to land in the Chinese capital at 6:30 a.m. (2230 GMT Friday) the same day.

    Malaysia Airlines has one of the best safety records among full-service carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.

    It identified the pilot of MH370 as Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian who joined the carrier in 1981 and has 18,365 hours of flight experience.

    Chinese state media said 24 Chinese artists and family members, who were in Kuala Lumpur for an art exchange programme, were aboard. The Sichuan provincial government said Zhang Jinquan, a well-known calligrapher, was on the flight.

    If it is confirmed that the plane crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year and by far the worst since the jet entered service in 1995.

    The most recent accident involving a Boeing 777 was the Asiana Airlines crash at the San Francisco International Airport in July, 2013, in which three people died.  Pilot error is suspected in that incident.

    Boeing said it was monitoring the situation but had no further comment. The flight was operating as a China Southern Airlines codeshare.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Doug from: Canada
    March 08, 2014 9:14 AM
    A commercial airliner such as the Boeing 777 simply does not fall out the sky for no apparent reason.I am just speculating here for its too soon to know the cause of the crash but such a sudden and catastrophic loss while in flight has all the hallmarks of a possible bomb or maybe onboard fire.

    RIP to all those onboard
    In Response

    by: ihatemullahs
    March 08, 2014 9:15 PM
    The Air France plane fell out of the sky in 2009. Similar things were said about the brand new Airbus.

    by: Fady el-Assy from: Egypt
    March 08, 2014 9:05 AM
    I hope find out whats up sooner ?

    by: eva from: indonesia
    March 08, 2014 7:50 AM
    Our thoughts n heart for all passengers of MH370..
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.