Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: 2 men on stolen passports were travelling together, says paper

The two men using stolen passports to board a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane that went missing on Saturday were travelling together, a British newspaper has reported.

Britain's The Telegraph was told by China Southern Airlines, which sold tickets on the flight under a codeshare agreement with MAS to two men travelling under the names "Luigi Maraldi" and "Christian Kozel", that both men were transiting in Beijing, and were booked on a subsequent flight from Beijing to Amsterdam on Saturday

The two men also bought tickets numbered consecutively - 7842280116099 and 7842280116100 - which suggests that they had bought them at the same time.

What are the chances that one person boards a Malaysia Airlines plane on a stolen Caucasian passport?" The Telegraph quoted one aviation expert, who asked not to be named, as saying. "Maybe it is one in a thousand. Two? One in a million," he added.

Italy and Austria has confirmed that Mr Maraldi, an Italian, and Mr Kozel, an Austrian, were not on board the missing plane. Both had their passports stolen in Thailand.