Malaysian officials investigating the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane Saturday said they were not ruling out terrorism — or any other causes — as reports emerged that two Europeans listed on the passenger manifest were not aboard and may have had their passports stolen.
Vietnamese military aircraft participating in a search-and-rescue operation for the Boeing 777, which was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard, had spotted two oil slicks in the waters off southern Vietnam, the Associated Press reported.
The government said the slicks were each six miles to nine miles long and were consistent with the type that would be left by fuel from a crashed jetliner, the AP said.
Malaysia’s director general of civil aviation told a news conference Saturday night that authorities had reviewed closed-circuit TV footage of passengers and their luggage and hadn’t seen anything of concern. But Prime Minister Najib Razak cautioned that it was “too early” to come to any conclusions, and other officials said nothing was being ruled out of consideration at this point.
The plane was carrying 227 passengers and a dozen Malaysian crew members, the airline said. The biggest contingent — 154 — was from China and Taiwan.
An initial passenger list posted at the Beijing airport, apparently by Chinese authorities, listed three U.S. passport holders: an adult, Philip Tallmadge Wood, and two children, Nicole Meng and Leo Meng.
However, a full manifest published online Saturday evening by the airline listed the American passengers as Wood, age 51, Nicole Meng, age 4, and Yan Zhang, age 2.