Two Iranian men identified as stolen passport holders on missing Malaysia Airlines flight
Two men flying on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were tonight identified by Interpol as passengers who used Iranian passports to fly from Doha to Kuala Lumpur, before boarding the ill-fated flight to Beijing using stolen documents.
After earlier speculation that up to five stolen passports were being used on the flight, Interpol tonight confirmed that the only stolen passports used by passengers on board were those of an Italian and an Austrian. They were taken from their owners in Thailand during separate incidents.
Secretary General of Interpol, Ronald Noble, appealed for the public's help in identifying the two Iranian men, named as Pouri Nour Mohammadi, 19, and Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, 29.
During a press conference he displayed a picture of the pair boarding a plane at the same time.
“We know that once these individuals arrived in Kuala Lumpur on the 20th of February, they boarded flight 370 using different identities: a stolen Austrian and a stolen Italian passport," he said.
"We are in the process of asking our member countries around the world to provide us with any additional information concerning the images, the names on the passport and the passport numbers."
He said recent information gathered on the men made terrorism a less likely cause of its disappearance on Saturday night, an hour after take-off.
An extensive air and sea search focussing on a huge area of land and sea has failed to turn up any evidence of a crash.
Watch: What we know about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
At an earlier press conference Malaysian police released a CCTV image of one of the teenagers wearing a dark T-shirt. He said he had been travelling using the stolen Austrian passport belonging to a man named Christian Kozel.
Police chief Khalid Abu Bakak said the investigation into the disappearance of the flight on Saturday night was focussing on four possibilites - hijack, sabotage, psychological problems of the passengers and crew; and personal problems among passengers and crew.
"Maybe somebody on the flight has bought a huge sum of insurance, who wants family to gain from it or somebody who has owed somebody so much money, you know, we are looking at all possibilities," he said, outlining possible reasons why somebody would want to down an aircraft.
"We are looking very closely at the video footage taken at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), we are studying the behavioral pattern of all the passengers," he added.
He said investigation into the theories was being carried out "slowly, one by one".
He added: "We are working with Iranian authorities [on the case]."
Bakak said that the mother of the Iranian teenager had contacted Malaysian authorities after her son did not arrive in Frankfurt where she claimed she was waiting for him.
“That’s why we knew he’s the one travelling on that stolen passport,” the police chief said.
“It is likely that he is not a member of a terrorist group,” Bakak added, saying authorities had made all efforts to probe his background."
However, Bakak did not rule out terrorism as a possibility for the disappearance of the plane. “I would not say [terrorism is] less likely," he said.
In answer to a reporter's question he said police were also investigating the possibility that a bomb had been loaded into the cargo hold.
A mass air and sea search has failed to find any signs of the aircraft, which disappeared off the radar at 1.30am local time on Saturday. Malaysia Airlines was informed by the country's civil aviation authorities of the disappearance an hour later.
The Boeing 777-200ER had 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.
Correction: A previous version stated the suspect's name as Douria. It is Pouri.