Two of the passengers with stolen passports who boarded the vanished Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 have been identified as Iranian citizens who swapped their real passports for falsified European documents.
The two men have been identified as Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29. They obtained stolen Italian and Austrian passports before boarding the flight, Interpol reported. They are not suspected of being tied to terrorist groups, officials say.
The investigation has also revealed that the plane changed course about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, starting on an unexpected flight path at 35,000 feet.
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"It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait," a military official briefed on the investigation told Reuters.
That’s also when the plane disappeared from tracking records.
Despite the new breakthroughs, the Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 passengers and crewmembers that disappeared without a trace is still baffling investigators. Officials are continuing to look for evidence from all angles.
"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," Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said at a news conference.
"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."