Two passengers on MH370 using stolen passports, say reports

Apart from Italian Luigi Maraldi who is alive in Thailand, Austria has now said that one of its citizens on the passenger list was not on board flight MH370 which went missing this morning.

Austria’s foreign ministry spokesman, Martin Weiss, told media outlets that the citizen, who he did not name, was safely living in Austria and had his passport stolen two years ago during a visit to Thailand.

There is only one Austrian on the passenger list: Christian Kozel, aged 30, The Guardian reported today.

Earlier, Maraldi contacted his relatives in Italy to inform them that he was safe and sound and currently in Thailand.

Apparently, Maraldi had informed Italian authorities in August last year that he had lost his passport.

Maraldi is one of the names which appeared on the passenger manifest for flight MH370, which has been missing since 1.30am.

The Italian honorary consul Francesco Pensato in Phuket, Thailand, confirmed Maraldi was in Phuket and they are checking whether it may have been a different man with the same name and date of birth on the plane.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 bound for Beijing was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew. There were 14 nationalities on board the plane.

Boeing has said in a statement that it is “assembling a team to provide technical assistance to investigating authorities”.

Malaysian authorities have widened their search to include both the east and west coast of the Malay peninsula.

"Both the Malaysian and Vietnamese SAR forces are conducting searches in their respective coastal waters," Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said tonight.

Aziz said authorities were quite sure that MH370 had disappeared at sea.

Regarding the 20km oil slick spotted between Malaysia and Vietnam, Aziz said they had asked Vietnamese authorities about it.

"But the Vietnamese authorities have yet to get back to us," he said. - March 8, 2014 [MI]

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