Joined: 03 August 2010
One of the passengers travelling on board a missing Malaysian Airlines carrying 239 people was using a stolen Italian passport, it has emerged.
Luigi Maraldi, 37, from Cesena, was named as one of the travellers on board flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
But Italian sources have confirmed he is alive and well and rang his worried parents after reading news reports about the missing flight.
"I'm alive - I'm in Thailand!" he said.
Mr Maraldi reported his passport stolen on August 1 last year and was not on board the plane, according to news agency ANSA.
The development raises more worrying questions about what happened to the passenger jet before it disappeared over the South China Sea in the early hours of Saturday.
The leaders of China, Malaysia and Vietnam have deployed aircraft and ships to help with the search.
A 12-mile oil slick has reportedly been spotted off the south coast of Vietnam which is being investigated.
The Boeing 777-200 jet's passengers on the 2,746-mile journey totalled 239, including two infants and 12 crew members.
There were 14 different nationalities on board.
Malaysian Airways confirmed the plane had lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am (SAT) local time - or 6.40pm (FRI) around 120 miles off Kota Bharu over the South China Sea.
The airline said in a statement: "Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft.
"The airline will provide regular updates on the situation."
A weather map of the area where the plane was last reported did not show any storm activity.
Well-wishers and worried relatives left almost 4,000 comments on the airline's Facebook page.
Brian Hong wrote: "Let's pray for the safety of the passengers & crew members."
A website had earlier listed the flight as landed, but this was before the airline's statement.
The operator has said it will provide regular updates via its Facebook page.
"We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370," the airline's chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement on Facebook.
"Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft," Yahya said.
"Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew."
The plane did not enter Chinese air space and is thought to have lost contact over Vietnam.
Officials say there were 160 Chinese nationals on board and state TV reported that China had dispatched two maritime rescue ships to the South China Sea to help the search effort.
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