Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane cries as she leaves a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing airplane, in Beijing, China Sunday, March 9, 2014. Planes and ships from across Asia resumed the hunt Sunday for a Malaysian jetliner missing with 239 people on board for more than 24 hours, while Malaysian aviation authorities investigated how two passengers were apparently able to get on the aircraft using stolen passports. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Vietnam says it may have found missing jet’s door
First Published Mar 09 2014 09:12 am • Last Updated Mar 09 2014 01:42 pm

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia • Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object Sunday that they suspected was one of the plane’s doors, as international intelligence agencies joined the investigation into two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports.

More than a day and half after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board, no confirmed debris from the plane had been found, and the final minutes before it went missing remained a mystery. The plane lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning en route to Beijing.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Searchers in a low-flying plane spotted what appeared to be a door from the missing jet, the deputy chief of staff of Vietnam’s army, Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, was quoted as saying by the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper. It was found in waters about 60 miles (90 kilometers) south of Tho Chu island, in the same area where oil slicks were spotted Saturday.

"From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane," Tuan said. Two ships from the maritime police were heading to the site.

The missing plane apparently fell from the sky at cruising altitude in fine weather, and the pilots were either unable or had no time to send a distress signal — unusual circumstances under which a modern jetliner operated by a professional airline would crash.

Authorities were checking on the identities of two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports. On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight’s manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.

"I can confirm that we have the visuals of these two people on 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."

"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 it knew about the two stolen passports used to board the ill-fated plane, but said no one checked its vast databases on stolen documents.

In a forceful statement, Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble chided authorities for "waiting for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates."


story continues below
story continues below

"Now, we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists," Noble said. "Interpol is asking why only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights."

The thefts of the two passports — one belonging to Austrian Christian Kozel and the other to Luigi Maraldi of Italy — were entered into Interpol’s database after they were stolen in Thailand, the police body said. Kozel’s passport was stolen in 2012 and Maraldi’s last July.

A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline confirmed Sunday that passengers named Maraldi and Kozel had been booked to leave Beijing on a KLM flight to Amsterdam on Saturday. Maraldi was to fly on to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany.

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

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

Interpol said it and national investigators were examining other suspect passports and working to determine the true identities of those who used the stolen passports to board the Malaysia Airlines flight.

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 to disguise their identities.

Other possible causes included 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.

Malaysia’s air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said radar indicated that before it disappeared, the plane may have turned back, but there were no further details on which direction it went or how far it veered off course.

"We are trying to make sense of this," Daud said at a news conference. "The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back, and in some parts this was corroborated by civilian radar."

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.