Malaysia Airlines: Investigators focus on CCTV for clues about missing flight

Malaysian authorities, along with the FBI, will investigate four passengers

Asia Correspondent

Two mystery passengers bought their tickets together, and boarded the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 apparently using stolen passports. The effort to answer the pressing questions of who they are and what happened to the aircraft over the South China Sea on Saturday morning was focusing on the examination of CCTV footage showing the two travellers on Sunday night as officials also probed the identity of two other unknown passengers.

More than a day and half after the Boeing 777 went missing an hour into its flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, officials in Malaysia said they had been unable to find any confirmed debris or other trace of the jet.

They said an investigation as to whether an oil slick spotted on the surface of the South China Sea was from the aircraft was ongoing. Meanwhile, the authorities in Vietnam said a military plane had spotted an object suspected to be part of the missing airliner off the Ca Mau peninsula. Efforts to reach the debris will continue Monday.

Amid speculation that foul play may have been behind the plane’s demise, Director-General of Malaysia’s civil aviation body, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said Sunday night that Malaysian investigators were looking at CCTV footage of two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports.

“The video of the two passengers is now being looked at,” he said in Kuala Lumpur. “We are looking at all angles and all possibilities.”

Mr Rahman declined to provide further details of what examination of the CCTV footage had so far shown. But he added: “On the possibility of hijack, we are not ruling any possibility. However, it is important to state that our main concern is to focus our effort to find the missing aircraft.” A relative of one of the passengers in Beijing A relative of one of the passengers in Beijing

In the hours after flight MH370 went missing, it emerged that two Europeans listed on the passenger manifest – an Italian, Luigi Maraldi and an Austrian, Christian Kozel – had not been on the flight.

Mr Maraldi’s passport had been stolen in Thailand last year and Mr Kozel’s was stolen two years ago. Interpol said both documents were listed in its stolen passport database.

The two passports were reportedly used to buy contiguous tickets from China Southern Airlines – which codeshares with Malaysia Airlines – from a travel agent in Pattaya in Thailand.

The itinerary included an onward flight from Beijing to Amsterdam. The ticket bought using the Italian passport then goes on to Copenhagen while the ticket bought with the Austrian passport continues to Frankfurt.

While China has a reputation for being rigorous on visa approvals, recently introduced rules allow citizens of many Western nations visa-free entry for 72 hours upon arrival in Beijing as long as they have an onward ticket.

Read more: There are some slightly less nefarious reasons for flying on a stolen passport
Search for missing Boeing 777 reveals two oil slicks in the Gulf of Thailand
Despite expected death toll we must remember air travel has never been safer

The Reuters news agency said Malaysian investigators, assisted by the FBI, are focusing efforts on the identities of four passengers in particular. The four consist of the two travellers using the stolen Austrian and Italian passports, and two passengers also using European passports, possibly Ukrainian. Buddhist monks offer prayers in Kuala Lumpur Buddhist monks offer prayers in Kuala Lumpur

The international investigative agency Interpol said that the Austrian and Italian passport had been added to its database of stolen documents in 2012 and 2013. But it said no checks were made by either country between the time the passports were entered as stolen and them being used to board MH 370. As a result, it could not say how many times the documents may have been previously used.

It said investigators were currently examining whether any of the other passports used to board the Malaysia Airlines flight were stolen.

The 11-year-old plane, which was carrying 239 people, lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur at around 12.40am on Saturday morning. The list of passengers include 154 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four Americans and two Canadians. There were also 12 crew members.

Among the Chinese travellers was a 19-member group of artists returning home after an exhibition.

The search area for the missing plane has been extended to 50 nautical miles of the last point of contact of the plane, 120 miles from the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu. A total of 40 ships and 34 aircraft from countries including Thailand, Indonesia, China and the US are involved in the search.

There has been speculation that something caused the plane to explode and disintegrate while at cruising altitude – something that would account for the absence of debris and the fact that the pilots did not send a distress signal. Meanwhile, the Malaysian military said radar images suggested that the plane had started to turn back.

Mr Rahman said the main priority of investigators was to locate any wreckage from the plane. Officials would then be able to examine the “black-box” flight recorder to ascertain further clues. Crucially, no signal has been received from the plane’s emergency locator transmitter. A reported sighting of a piece of debris from the plane A reported sighting of a piece of debris from the plane

Andrew Charlton, an aviation consultant at Geneva-based Aviation Advocacy, said there was much that did not add up.

“The 777 is a very reliable aircraft, Malaysia is a very good airline and it had cleared take-off and landing. For the aircraft not to have been able to talk to the ground is really most alarming and concerning,” he said. “It just disappeared off the face of the map. When this happens it’s catastrophic and instantaneous, and it’s very difficult not to assume an explosion was involved at that point.”

If Airlines flight died, then it will be the deadliest aircraft accident since November 12, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in New York, killing all 260 people on board and five on the ground.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments