Last updated Thursday, October 23, 2014 06:03pm

Deputy Transport minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi speaks to reporters at the MH370 press conference today at the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang, on March 8, 2014. — Picture by Mohd Yusof Mat IsaDeputy Transport minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi speaks to reporters at the MH370 press conference today at the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang, on March 8, 2014. — Picture by Mohd Yusof Mat IsaSEPANG, March 8 — The case of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 aircraft took on a sinister twist today after reports emerged that two foreigners — one Italian and one Austrian — listed on the flight manifest never boarded the plane.

According to several foreign news reports, Italian Luigi Maraldi and Austrian Christian Kozel, both had their passports stolen some time ago.

The reports appeared to suggest the possibility of foul play onboard the ill-fated Boeing B777-200 aircraft which has now been missing for nearly 24 hours.

Speaking to reporters here, deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi acknowledged the news report on the Italian’s allegedly stolen passport and said the authorities are probing the matter for possible foul play.

“The information is still under review,” he said.

According to Department of Civil Aviation’s director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the airport authorities have examined security footage of the passengers and the baggage.

“This is an issue of security. So far we are satisfied,” he said.

Asked if the authorities have completely ruled out the possibility of a hijacking or terrorism, he said he could not disclose more on the matter until the claim has been verified.

According to the UK-based The Telegraph, the 37-year-old Maraldi told his parents he was in Thailand and never boarded the flight, after his name turned up on the manifest.

In a report on The Guardian, Austria’s foreign ministry spokesman Martin Weiss was quoted as telling media that the Austrian citizen listed on the manifest is safe in his home country and had his passport stolen some years ago in Thailand.

In the Gallery


  • People take pictures of a flight information board displaying the Scheduled Time of Arrival (STA) of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (top, in red) at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, covers her face as she cries at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Journalists attempt to interview a woman who is the relative of a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as she crouches on the floor crying, at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A man takes pictures of a flight information board displaying the Scheduled Time of Arrival (STA) of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (top, in red) at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Journalists wait in a conference room for a news conference regarding the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, at a hotel in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Family members of those on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight walk into the waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Family members of those on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, walk into the waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Family members of those on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, walk into the waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • The holding area set up at Level 5 for family members of those on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, March 8, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • Distraught family members of those on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, March 8, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • Distraught family members of those on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, March 8, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • Journalists take pictures and videos of a relative of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a hotel in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A crying woman is escorted to a bus for relatives at the Beijing Airport after news of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane on March 8, 2014. — AFP pic

  • A Malaysia Airlines spokesman speaks to journalists regarding information about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, during a news conference at a hotel in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya at a press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • Family members of those onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are interviewed by media at the waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 speaks to journalists at a hotel in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 talks on a mobile phone as journalists attempt to interview her at a hotel in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman, whose husband is a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, attempts to leave a hotel after complaining about Malaysia Airlines, in Beijing, March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Vietnamese Air Force officer takes photos from a search and rescue aircraft in the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, 250km from Vietnam and 190km from Malaysia, in this handout photo from Thanh Nien Newpaper taken March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • An aerial view of an oil spill is seen from a Vietnamese Air Force aircraft in the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, 250km from Vietnam and 190km from Malaysia, in this handout photo from Thanh Nien Newpaper taken on March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

Earlier this morning, MAS confirmed that Subang Air Traffic Control had lost contact with the Beijing-bound MAS flight MH370 which was carrying 239 people, including 12 crew members.

The plane reportedly fell off the radar when it was 120 nautical miles off the coast of Kota Baru and was reported missing at 2.40am this morning, two hours after take-off.

It was originally scheduled to land it Beijing at 6.30am local time.

A massive search and rescue operation involving Malaysian and foreign military assets have been mounted to locate the missing aircraft between Malaysian and Vietnamese waters.

Unconfirmed reports have streamed in, claiming of a 12-mile long oil slick sighting between the waters of Malaysia and Vietnam, allegedly due to the crashed plane.

MAS has yet to confirm the report.