Vietnam says it may have found missing Malaysia Airlines jet's door

Mar 09 2014, 00:20 IST
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Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object that they suspected was one of the plane's doors. AP Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object that they suspected was one of the plane's doors. AP
SummaryThe plane, which was carrying 239 people, lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam.

CCTV,'' Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference late Sunday, adding that the footage was being examined. ``We have intelligence agencies, both local and international, on board.''

Hishammuddin declined to give further details, saying it may jeopardize the investigation.

“Our focus now is to find the aircraft,'' he said, adding that finding the plane would make it easier for authorities to investigate any possible foul play.

Interpol confirmed that at least two stolen passports used by passengers on the plane were registered in its databases. It said no one had checked the databases, but added that most airlines and countries do not usually check for stolen passports.

Hishammuddin said only two passengers had used stolen passports, and that earlier reports that the identities of two others were under investigation were not true.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the U.S. was looking into the stolen passports, but that investigators had reached no conclusions.

In addition to the plane's sudden disappearance, which experts say is consistent with a possible onboard explosion, the stolen passports have strengthened concerns about terrorism as a possible cause. Al-Qaida militants have used similar tactics to try and disguise their identities.

Still, other possible causes would seem just as likely at this stage, including a catastrophic failure of the plane's engines, extreme turbulence, or pilot error or even suicide. Establishing what happened with any certainty will need data from flight recorders and a detailed examination of any debris, something that will take months if not years.

European authorities on Saturday confirmed the names and nationalities of the two stolen passports: One was an Italian-issued document bearing the name Luigi Maraldi, the other Austrian under the name Christian Kozel. Police in Thailand said Maraldi's passport was stolen on the island of Phuket last July.

A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline on Sunday confirmed that ``Maraldi'' and ``Kozel'' were both booked to leave Beijing on a KLM flight to Amsterdam on March 8. Maraldi was then to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark, on KLM on March 8, and Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany, on March 8.

She said since the pair booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines, she had no information on where they bought them.

Having onward reservations to Europe from Beijing would have meant the pair, as holders of EU passports, would not have needed visas for China.

Meanwhile, the multinational search for the missing plane was continuing. A total of 34

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