2 Stolen Passports Were Used To Board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370
U.S. officials said they were checking into passenger manifests and going back through intelligence. The revelations came hours after air traffic controllers lost contact with Malaysia Flight 370 over the South China Sea.
It is unusual for one person to board a plane with a stolen passport and very rare for two to do it, terrorism analysts say. While the possibility that two people may have boarded the jet with stolen passports does not explain how it was lost, it does change how U.S. officials look at the incident.
Asked earlier whether terrorism was suspected in the disappearance of the jet, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said authorities were “looking at all possibilities,” The Associated Press reported.
That’s one of the last things you want to hear. That 2 of the 239 passports used to board flight MH370 were reported stolen in Thailand. 2 unidentified men boarded the plane under false pretenses. Everyone’s talking “terrorism” now. Yeah let’s just jump to conclusions, why don’t we? The people in Beijing waiting for their loved ones probably love to here the word “terrorism” thrown around. I’m not ready to jump on the “terrorism” bandwagon with this story.. there just isn’t enough evidence. NBC News isn’t one of those people talking terrorism, they produce hard factual news.
NBC NEWS: U.S. officials told NBC News on Saturday they are investigating terrorism concerns after two people listed as passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet turned out not to be on the plane and had reported their passports stolen.
The officials said that they had found no clear link to terrorism, and that there are other criminal reasons, for example drug smuggling, that stolen passports might be used to board a plane.
But the revelations, hours after the jet disappeared over the South China Seawithout sending a distress signal, significantly changed how U.S. officials looked at the disaster. U.S. officials said they were checking into passenger manifests and going back through intelligence.
“We are aware of the reporting on the two stolen passports,” one senior official said. “We have not determined a nexus to terrorism yet, although it’s still very early, and that’s by no means definitive.”
Both passports were stolen in Thailand, sources told NBC News.
An Italian man who had his passport stolen a year ago was on the passenger manifest for the jet, but his father told NBC News on Saturday that he was safe and on vacation in Thailand.
In Austria, the foreign ministry confirmed to NBC News that police had made contact with a citizen who was also on the passenger list, and who reported his passport stolen two years ago while traveling in Asia.
“We believe that the name and passport were used by an unidentified person to board the plane,” a spokesman for the ministry said.
They make a strong case when they say there was no distress signal. General protocol says pilots when crashing will send out a distress call.