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Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: US investigating terror concerns

Published on Mar 9, 2014 2:59 AM

NEW YORK - US officials were probing terror concerns following reports that two imposters could have boarded the missing Malaysian Airline flight.

Officials told NBC News that they had found no clear link to terrorism, and that there could be other criminal reasons, such as drug smuggling, for which the two imposters could have used stolen passports to board the plane.

But the revelations, hours after the jet disappeared over the South China Sea without sending a distress signal, significantly changed how US officials looked at the disaster.

“We are aware of the reporting on the two stolen passports,” one senior official said.

“We have not determined a nexus to terrorism yet, although it’s still very early, and that’s by no means definitive,” he was quoted as saying by NBC News.

Both passports were stolen in Thailand.

An Italian man who had his passport stolen a year ago was on the passenger manifest for the jet, but his father said that he was safe and on vacation in Thailand.

In Austria, the foreign ministry confirmed that police had made contact with a citizen who was also on the passenger list, and who reported his passport stolen two years ago while traveling in Asia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said earlier on Saturday that authorities were “looking at all possibilities.”