Malaysia’s Chief of Civil Aviation is quoted saying the two men holding the stolen passports “are not Asian looking men,” and a Thai travel agency booked the men with the stolen passports through an “Iranian” source. Minutes ago, the oil slick was said NOT to be connected to Malaysia Flt. MH370, and an item thought to be a door from the aircraft, or possibly a life raft turned out to be “garbage.” A Malaysian official described the two non-Asian-looking men as looking like Italian footballer Mario Balotelli. More as information is available.
Here is exactly what Rahman said about the appearance of the passengers on the stolen passports.
“It is confirmed now that they are not Asian looking men,” he said.
A reporter asked Rahman to say “roughly” what they looked like. He replied “Do you know a footballer by the name of Balotelli [using an approximate pronunciation of the name]”.
Reporters shouted the the name Balotelli, pronouncing the name footballer’s name correctly. Rahman corrected his initially pronunciation, and said: “Balotelli, yes”.
He added that the nationality of the men could not be confirmed. Source:
Authorities also said that from viewing footage of the boarding process inside the airport, all “security procedures were complied with,” yet Interpol, which holds the official stolen passport database was NOT checked.
Benjaporn Krutnait, owner of the Grand Horizon travel agency in Pattaya, Thailand, said the Iranian, a long-term business contact who she knew only as “Mr Ali”, first asked her to book cheap tickets to Europe for the two men on March 1. Ms Benjaporn initially reserved one of the men on a Qatar Airways flight and the other on Etihad.
But the tickets expired when Ms Benjaporn did not hear back from Mr Ali. When he contacted her again on Thursday, she rebooked the men on the Malaysia Airlines flight through Beijing because it was the cheapest available. Ms Benjaporn booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines via a code share arrangement.
A friend of Mr Ali paid Ms Benjaporn cash for the tickets, she said, adding that it was quite common for people to book tickets in Pattaya through middle men such as Mr Ali, who then take a commission. Read more (all quotations from The Guardian)
Isn’t it a bit odd that we have heard nothing about the two small children who were Americans? Nothing about family anywhere in the U.S. speaking out. Perhaps they hold dual passports and do not reside here. Missing American Phillip Wood’s family was identified almost immediately.
Updates when available.
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