Plane Crash Investigation Looks at Passports

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News,World,Transportation,Air Travel

Intelligence agencies are investigating how up to four passengers with suspect identities were able to board the Malaysia Airlines flight. (March 9)

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia - 9 March 2014

SOUNDBITE (English) Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian acting Transport Minister:

"The issue of the oil slick, I can confirm that there was a large slick, no debris, but what we are doing now, I was told that the Vietnamese aircraft are on the site right now to verify what actually is it on the surface of those waters."

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SOUNDBITE (English) Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian acting Transport Minister:

"Finally on the issue of the passports I'm in touch with the international intelligence agencies at the same time our own intelligence has been activated and of course the counter-terrorism units, CTIs and CTUs, from all the relevant countries have been informed, and that's what I've been doing since yesterday (Saturday)."

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Beijing, China - 9 March 2014

SOUNDBITE (English) Hugh Dunleavy, Commercial Director, Malaysia Airlines:

"As far as we are aware, everyone of the people on board that aircraft had a visa to go to China, which means that those passports were in the possession of the Chinese embassy before those visas were issued. That doesn't mean they weren't false passports, but it means that it's lower down on the probability scale. But it's not completely ruled out. So all of those now will be investigated by each of the authorities when it reflects the passport of that nation."

---butt to---

SOUNDBITE (English) Hugh Dunleavy, Commercial Director, Malaysia Airlines:

"We have 15 of those aircraft in the fleet. They are very well maintained aircraft, we have a very good safety record. This particular aircraft was in the hangar, now it's probably 11 days ago. It went through its A-check. Nothing untoward was found with the aircraft, and of course it's been operating 14 or 15 hours a day since that time without any issues."

STORYLINE:

Malaysia's acting transport minister said on Sunday that its intelligence agencies are investigating how up to four passengers with suspect identities were able to board the Malaysia Airlines flight that's gone missing and is presumed to have crashed.

On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight's manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.

During a news conference at Kuala Lumpur International airport, Hishammuddin Hussein, said that authorities were now looking at four possible cases of suspect identities.

He said Malaysian intelligence agencies were in contact with their international counterparts, including the FBI.

This, and the sudden disappearance of the plane that experts say is consistent with a possible onboard explosion, strengthened existing concerns about terrorism as a possible cause for the disappearance.

In Beijing, Malaysia Airlines Commercial Director Hugh Dunleavy assured reporters that the aircraft had a full safety check done eleven days ago and "nothing untoward was found with the aircraft."

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