Stolen Passports Surface as Hunt Narrows for Malaysian Jet

Posted by on Mar 08, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Two people listed as being on a missing Malaysia Airlines jet weren’t on the flight, and their passports had been stolen in Thailand, authorities and family members said Saturday.

The search for the plane, which disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, centered on waters off Vietnam after Hanoi said it had spotted what appeared to be large oil slicks.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people aboard, lost contact with the airline shortly into the flight early Saturday. Government and airline officials said they weren’t ready to speculate about what caused the Boeing 777-200 to disappear from radar sometime after it flew away from peninsular Malaysia’s east coast. Aviation analysts noted that accidents at cruising altitude over water were rare.

Families waited all day for news in a crisis center in Kuala Lumpur’s airport, and 2,700 miles away in a Beijing hotel. Of the 227 passengers on the flight, the airline said, 153 were from China or Taiwan; the list also included Malaysians, Indonesians and passengers from Australia, the U.S., France, Ukraine, India and Canada. Among those on board, the airline said: two infants, and children aged 2, 3 and 4. The plane carried a crew of 12, all Malaysians.

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