Austrian man Christian Kozel, 29, discovered he was dead when uniformed police officers turned up at his home in Salzburg at the weekend.
He said: “I was pretty shocked when I saw them at my door, and was relieved to find out that although I was dead, at least it was only on paper.”
But it still left him with a lot of worried friends and relatives that he had to reassure after it was reported that he was dead. He said he had reported the passport as stolen while he was in Thailand two years ago, and that it had apparently then been used by someone illegally.
Based on the stolen passport his name had been added to the list of those missing after the passenger list was issued by Malaysia Airlines, whose plane went missing off the Vietnamese coast with 227 passengers and 12 crew.
But an Austrian foreign ministry spokesman in Vienna, Martin Weiss, said that their system had flagged it as having been stolen, and that this had been confirmed by police who found that the Austrian national was safe at home.
“Our embassy got the information that there was an Austrian on board. That was based on the passenger list from Malaysia Airlines. Our system came back with a note that this is a stolen passport. We have no information on who might have stolen the passport.”
An Italian man who had his passport stolen was also falsely listed as being on the plane, and Weiss added: “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 who, that would be for the authorities to look into.”