Monday, March 10, 2014

Missing Malaysia Flight Possibly DISINTEGRATED At 35,000FT, Search Team Find What They Believe Is Part Of Plane's door and Tail

An object is seen floating in the sea on the display of a Vietnamese search airplane's camera looks like the door from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
The fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 remains ‘a mystery’ nearly three days after it disappeared. Debris from the missing Boeing 777 flight is believed to have been found off Vietnam as Interpol investigates whether up to four passengers boarded the plane using stolen passports. Terrorist attack not overruled.

A Vietnamese search team has found what they believe is part of a door and an airplane's tail in the first major breakthrough in the hunt for missing aircraft. Investigators are narrowing the focus of their inquiries on the possibility that the plane disintegrated in mid-flight.

'The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,' said the source, who is involved in the investigations in Malaysia.

It comes as Interpol criticised Thailand's lax airport security after it emerged at least two passengers' passports were stolen, prompting fears that terrorists might have used them to get on board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH307.

The possibility of a further two stolen passports used on the same flight is now being investigated as it emerges that no cross checks were carried out against Interpol's lost and stolen database. Procedural checks would have revealed that at least two passengers were travelling on stolen passports stolen.

Malaysian Security officials earlier revealed they had footage of two passengers traveling on passports stolen in Thailand - one registered to an Italian and the other an Austrian - making their way through Kuala Lumpur passport control to the aircraft. The passengers being checked had all bought their tickets through China Southern Airlines.

It appears the the tickets linked to the Italian and Austrian passports were bought together in Thai baht at identical prices, according to China's official e-ticket verification system Travel-sky. The ticket numbers are contiguous, which indicates the tickets were issued together.

The images have been circulated across international intelligence agencies and will be cross-referenced with facial recognition software.

The passports were used to buy the tickets booked in the names of Italian Luigi Maraldi and Austrian Christian Kozel on March 6, 2014, and issued in the Thai city of Pattaya, a popular beach resort south of the capital Bangkok.

Italian national Mr Maraldi had reported his passport stolen in August 2013
Luigi Maraldi, 37, the owner of one of the passports, was listed as the sole Italian national on the missing flight. This afternoon he told how the document was stolen while he was on holiday in July last year on the island Phuket.

Mr Maraldi reported his passport stolen in Thailand last August and was allowed to travel back to his native Italy on temporary documents.

On Sunday, his father Walter explained the original was stolen after he used it to hire a motorbike.
'Last summer he was in Thailand and handed over the passport so he could hire a scooter but when he brought it back, they said they had already given it back to someone else, so he reported it stolen,' he said.
Mr Maraldi added:
'The whole thing is a mix up - we have no idea who the person was that used my son's passport. The first I knew something had happened was when my son rang from Thailand on Saturday morning to say he was alive.

He said he had seen his name on the news reports as being on the missing airplane and he wanted to let us know he was alive and well. To be honest, I had no idea whet he was talking about as I hadn't seen the news by then.

'Once everything was cleared up, we said goodbye and I went and watched the news - a few minutes later the Italian Foreign Ministry rang to ask if I was the father of Luigi Maraldi and to say that he was on the passenger list.

'They were amazed when I said they were mistaken as I had just spoken to him and he was fine. They asked me for his number so they could call and check for themselves.

'They said his passport had been used by someone and they needed to check for certain he was ok. We are delighted that he is ok but he was never really involved in the disaster directly.'
The owner of the other stolen passport was Austrian citizen Christian Kozel, 30, who's name also appeared on the passenger manifest.

Mr Kozel discovered he had been listed when uniformed police officers turned up at his home in Salzburg at the weekend.

He said:
"I was pretty shocked when I saw them at my door, and was relieved to find out that although I was dead, at least it was only on paper"
But it still left him with a lot of worried friends and relatives that he had to reassure after it was reported that he was dead. He said he had reported the passport as stolen while he was in the same part of Thailand two years ago, and that it had apparently then been used by someone illegally.

Interpol said it was now investigating all other passports used to board flight MH370 and was working to determine the 'true identities' of the passengers who used the stolen passports.

Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol's databases.

The security breach has led to fears that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH307 may have been taken down by terrorists.

But authorities have confirmed that no terrorist organisations have claimed responsibility and there has been no electronic 'chatter' to suggest any known terror group was behind the aircraft's disappearance. There is also no evidence of foul play and no mayday calls were received before the plane disappeared.

It comes as the chief of the Malaysian Air Force said that radar indicated the missing plane may have turned back before it crashed.

It follows reports that an anonymous pilot told Malaysian newspapers that he had heard a 'mumbled' last transmission from the aircraft - although this is contradicted by air traffic controllers who say there was no distress call.

A flight tracker screenshot shows the point where MH370 went off rada

Oil spills on the surface of the water off the southern seas of Vietnam possibly related to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370