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Malaysia Airlines missing jet: 2 Europeans listed not on board

Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight, were not in fact on board, officials in both European countries said on Saturday, and both had their passports stolen.

Austrian, Italian thought to be on missing Boeing 777 had passports stolen in Thailand

This file photo shows a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER at Narita Airport in Narita, near Tokyo. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact with air traffic control early Saturday morning, March 8, 2014 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. (Kyodo News/Associated Press)

Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight, were not in fact on board, officials in both European countries said on Saturday, and both have had their passports stolen in Thailand

A passenger manifest issued by Malaysia Airlines after its plane went missing off the Vietnamese coast with 227 passengers and 12 crew included the names of Christian Kozel, 30, from Austria, and Luigi Maraldi, 37, from Italy.

The foreign ministry in Rome said no Italian was on the plane, despite the inclusion of Maraldi's name on the list. Italy's Foreign Ministry said he had reported his passport stolen last August.

Maraldi's mother said on Saturday that her son's passport had been lost, presumed stolen, in Phuket, Thailand in 2013.

"He lost his passport in Thailand, and he reported it to the authorities... Maybe the one who stole it came to a bad end, we don't know, they have to investigate," Renata Lucchi, the mother of 37-year-old Luigi Maraldi, told Reuters.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Vienna said the Austrian national was safe at home.

"Our embassy got the information that there was an Austrian on board. That was the passenger list from Malaysia Airlines. Our system came back with a note that this is a stolen passport," he said.

Police found the man at his home. The passport was stolen two years ago while he was travelling in Thailand, the spokesman said.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "It's interesting that there were two cases on the same plane but we just know that our Austrian was not on board.

"Someone used a document to get on the plane. But whoever used that, we have nothing to say about that, we don't know, that would be for the authorities to look into," he said.