|Malaysia Airlines 'Passenger' Shows Off New Passport|
|By BEN CANDEA (@bencandea)||Mar 9, 2014, 10:43 AM|
The Italian originally believed to have been on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared while above the South China Sea early Saturday, showed off his new passport today while vacationing in Thailand.
Police there said Luigi Maraldi's passport was stolen on the island of Phuket last July. Photos from The Associated Press show him displaying his new passport as he spoke at a news conference today.
Maraldi expressed surprise that anyone could use his old passport. His parents told Italian TV station RAI that their son called them when he heard news reports saying he was on the flight.
European authorities said the other stolen passport belonged to an Austrian under the name Christian Kozel. His passport was stolen in Thailand in 2012, Martin Weiss, a spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry, told ABC News.
The plane, which was carrying 239 people, lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning for Beijing.
International intelligence agencies have joined the investigation into the two passengers who boarded the Boeing 777 jetliner with stolen passports, as Malaysian authorities said radar images showed the plane may have turned back before vanishing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report