40 ships, 22 planes join search for missing Malaysia plane

40 ships and 22 planes have joined the search for the Malaysian passenger jet carrying 239 people, which went missing on Saturday, according to Malaysian media.

The head of the civil aviation service of the country announced that the rescue teams have not noticed any ruins or parts of the aircraft in the South China Sea or at the place where the plane was last detected.

There were no reports of bad weather and no sign why the Boeing 777-200ER would have vanished from radar screens about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. There were no signs of sabotage or claims of a terrorist attack.

However, in Europe, news reports and officials said at least two people on board may have been carrying stolen passports.

The Italian foreign ministry said in Rome that an Italian was listed on the flight’s manifest although no national from the country was on board.

The passenger list provided by the airline includes Luigi Maraldi, 37, an Italian citizen. Newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported that Maraldi’s passport was stolen in Thailand last August. The Italian Interior Ministry was unable to immediately comment on the report.

In Vienna, the Austrian foreign ministry said an Austrian listed among the passengers was safe and had reported his passport stolen two years ago while he was travelling in Thailand.

Asked for a possible explanation for the plane’s disappearance, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a news conference: “We are not ruling out any possibilities.”



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