'Security Breach' May Have Led to Disappearance of Malaysian Plane
Security lapse might have been committed prior to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Malaysian officials are increasingly looking into this scenario after Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein confirmed at least two passengers were using stolen passports, Al Jazeera English has reported.
The plane with 239 people on board, which took off from Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, mysteriously vanished from radar early on Saturday, somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam, while en route to Beijing. Hijacking has not been ruled out as an option.
Two passengers are being investigated over the incident after it was revealed they were traveling with stolen Austrian and Italian identity documents, according to Malaysian sources close to the probe. They had also purchased tickets for an onward flight from Beijing to Amsterdam. According to reports by The Guardian, they were of Asian appearance and held the passports of Luigi Maraldi and Christian Kozel.
Interpol announced that it was working to establish the "true identities" of these travelers. It also revealed the passengers they had documents "stolen" in Thailand years ago. Experts, however, have suggested that stolen traveling with stolen or fake documents is rather a common practice on regional flights.
Another five passengers, who were booked on the flight, did not board, and their luggage was consequently removed.
Authorities in Kuala Lumpur have so far given no specification on the possible security lapse, which could have involved immigration officials.CCTV footages at the airport are being carefully looked at to determine whether a lapse was actually committed before or during boarding.
At the sea off Vietnam, where the plane went missing, 34 aircraft and 40 ships from nine nations are searching debris of the plane, but official reports state nothing has been found. Vietnamese authorities are said to have found an object bearing resemblance to a door, but this has not been verified.
The incident off the South Asian coast is still puzzling Malaysian, Vietnamese, Chinese and US authorities. It seems the plane might have inexplicably turned back short before passing over Vietnam, but apparently has neither returned nor crashed, as no wreckage has been found in the rescue operation.