Malaysian officials said authorities are now looking at two more suspicious passengers on the Boeing 777 that went missing on Saturday. The two passengers already identified with the stolen passports were traveling together to Amsterdam from Beijing.

passengers malaysian air
Family members of passengers of missing Malaysia Airlines flight cry at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 09 March 2014. A total of 22 aircraft and 40 ships are combing the South China Sea to locate a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with 239 people on board that was missing and feared crashed at sea. (EFE)

The Telegraph reported:

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that authorities were looking at two more possible cases of suspicious identities. He said Malaysian intelligence agencies were in contact with their international counterparts, including the FBI. He gave no more details.

“All the four names are with me and have been given to our intelligence agencies,” he said. “We are looking at all possibilities.”…

…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.

A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline on Sunday confirmed “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 on KLM on March 8, and Kozel to Frankfurt on March 8.

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

Having an onward reservation from Beijing would have meant the pair, as holders of EU passports, would not have needed a visa for China. Beyond that, it was unclear whether this had any possible implications for the investigation…

…Jason Middleton, the head of the Sydney-based University of New South Wales’ School of Aviation, said terrorism or some other form of foul play seemed a likely explanation.

“You’re looking at some highly unexpected thing, and the only ones people can think of are basically foul play, being either a bomb or some immediate incapacitating of the pilots by someone doing the wrong thing and that might lead to an airplane going straight into the ocean,” Middleton said. “With two stolen passports (on board), you’d have to suspect that that’s one of the likely options.”

 

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