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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora