PIX 11 News with KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP/CNN) — Vietnamese air force planes have spotted two large oil slicks that authorities suspect are from a Malaysian jetliner that went missing early Saturday.
A Vietnamese government statement says the slicks were spotted off the southern tip of Vietnam. The slicks were each between 6 and 9 miles long.
The statement said the slicks were consistent with the kinds that would be left by fuel from a crashed jetliner.
Airline officials have not confirmed that the oil was from the airplane.
Foreign ministry officials in Italy and Austria say the names of two nationals listed on the manifest of the missing Malaysian airlines flight match passports reported stolen in Thailand. Italy’s Foreign Ministry say the Italian man who was listed as a passenger is traveling in Thailand and was not aboard the plane. And Austria’s Foreign Ministry says an Austrian man listed as being on the plane wasn’t aboard, either.
A U.S. intelligence official said authorities are aware of reporting about the stolen passports used by passengers on the missing flight.
“No nexus to terrorism yet,” the official said, “although that’s by no means definitive. We’re still tracking.”
Now the FBI may be getting involved in the investigation because Americans were on the flight.
Nobody knows what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, other than air traffic controllers lost track of it not long after it left Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, on its way to Beijing.
The families and loved ones of the 239 passengers and crew aboard expected the worst as they awaited any significant development.
In the meantime, the search area is being expanded and efforts to locate the plane will continue overnight, said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of civil aviation in Malaysia.
The area of focus has been in the South China Sea, where the Malaysian airspace and Vietnamese airspace meet.
“We have no idea where this aircraft is right now,” Malaysia Airlines Vice President of Operations Control Fuad Sharuji said on CNN’s “AC360.”
Bits and pieces of information have begun to form, but it remains unclear how they fit into the bigger picture, if at all.
For instance, after the airline released a manifest, Austria denied that one of its citizens was onboard the flight as the list stated. The Austrian citizen was safe and sound, and his passport had been stolen two years ago, Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Weiss told CNN.
Similarly, Italy’s foreign ministry confirmed that no Italians were onboard MH370, even though an Italian was listed on the manifest. Malaysian officials said they were aware of reports that the Italian’s passport was also stolen, but had not confirmed it.
Malaysian authorities reiterated during a news conference that they are not ruling anything out regarding the missing aircraft.
China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia were conducting search and rescue operations south of Tho Chu island in the South China Sea, reported Xinhua, China’s official news agency. Ships, helicopters and airplanes are being utilized.
Officials appeared resigned to accepting the worst outcome.
“I’d just like to say our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said during a news conference.
The State Department confirms that three Americans were aboard the Malaysia Airlines jet that vanished Saturday.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki says in a statement that officials from the U.S. Embassies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Beijing are in contact with families of the passengers. The department says it’s working to determine if other U.S. citizens may have been on the flight.
No additional information was released.
Psaki extended condolences to the loved ones of passengers on Flight MH370.