Austian Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Weiss told Xinhua in telephone on Saturday (March 8) that after receiving a message from the Malaysian side that an Austrian citizen is on the list of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, the authoritis checked it and found that it is about a stolen passport.
The 61-year-old Austrian, who lost his passport in Thailand in 2012, was currently not on board but lives in Austria and in good health, Weiss confirmed, adding that obviously there are no Austrian citizens on borad.
The flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200, was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers onboard, including 154 Chinese, when it lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control early Saturday morning.
Early on the day, Italys Foreign Ministry confirmed that an Italian citizen on the passengers list of the same missing jet is not onboard, and his passport was also stolen in Thailand.
Multinational rescue teams intensified efforts to search for the missing plane.
Vietnamese Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu said rescuers were expected to arrive in waters near the southern Phu Quoc Island where two "suspicious" oil slicks were spotted.
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said no sign of any plane wreckage had been found.
In Rome, the father of the Italian man who was thought to be on the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft, Luigi Maraldi, said on Saturday that his son had the passport stolen last August at a vehicle rental shop in Thailand.
"My son had rented a motor-scooter in Phuket, where he was on vacation about one and a half year ago. When he went to return the motor-scooter and take back his passport, the passport was not there anymore," Maraldis father, Walter, told Xinhua.
"The salespersons could not explain how the theft happened. My son reported the fact to police in Thailand and then to police in Italy," Walter said.
Walter explained to Xinhua that someone may have entered the shop and may have stolen the password, "but it is difficult to say something, we have not other information."
"Now my son has a new passport, and the one used on Malaysian plane list could be the old one, according to Italian police," he said.
However, Walter underlined, the stolen password was a modern one, with printed photo, so that Italian police "had wondered what use could be that passport. But I think its information might have been used to make a fake one, who knows," he said.
Maraldi (37) is a technician with a stable job in Ravenna, a city near his hometown Cesena in northern Italy. His mother told Xinhua that he "did not have a job in Thailand, he just liked to go there on vacation when he had time. He went there for at least three or four years in a row."
The Italian mans name was on the boarding list offered by Malaysia Airlines which reported that its flight MH 370 carrying 239 people had lost contact with air traffic control about two hours after leaving Malaysias capital of Kuala Lumpur early Saturday.
Maraldi phoned to his father in the early morning on Saturday to tell him that he was not on the missing plane but safely in Thailand.