Oil Slicks Confirm Fears That 'Vanished' Airliner Crashed in Ocean

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Common Dreams

Oil Slicks Confirm Fears That 'Vanished' Airliner Crashed in Ocean

Boeing 777 with 239 people on board went missing overnight; Evidence shows it likely crashed off Vietnamese coast

by
Common Dreams staff

Update (12:44 PM EST):

Reuters: 'Two Europeans listed on missing Malaysia flight were not on board':

Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight, were not in fact on board, officials in both European countries said on Saturday, and at least one of them had had his passport stolen.

A passenger manifest issued by Malaysia Airlines after its plane went missing off the Vietnamese coast with 227 passengers and 12 crew included the names of Christian Kozel, 30, from Austria, and Luigi Maraldi, 37, from Italy.

But a foreign ministry spokesman in Vienna said the Austrian national was safe at home.

"Our embassy got the information that there was an Austrian on board. That was the passenger list from Malaysia Airlines. Our system came back with a note that this is a stolen passport," he said.

Police found the man at his home. The passport was stolen two years ago while he was travelling in Thailand, the spokesman said.

The foreign ministry in Rome said no Italian was on the plane either, despite the inclusion of Maraldi's name on the list.

Earlier: A pair of oil slicks have been spotted by Vietnamese air force Saturday with the likelihood that this is a sign that a missing Malaysian airlines passenger jet that "vanished" overnight while en route to China crashed in the South China Sea.

No wreckage has yet been spotted, but some reports indicated that officials have confirmed the airliner crashed.

With a reported 239 people on board, Flight MH370 was a B777-200 aircraft heading from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing on Friday when it lost contact with air traffic control an hour after takeoff and flying at high altitude.

According to the flight records, the majority of people on board were Chinese nationals, but also people from 14 other countries.

As the Guardian reports, "aviation experts have expressed bewilderment and alarm at the sudden disappearance of the Boeing 777-200, which is renowned for its reliability."

Updates will continue as news outlets from around the world cover the latest:

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