Malaysian authorities have identified one of two passengers who boarded MH370 using fake passports, and that the suspect is unlikely to have had any terrorist intent.
Nineteen year old Iranian Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, who held a stolen Austrian passport, was attempting to migrate to Germany, says Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar at a press conference four days after the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 disappeared.
“We’ve checked with other police organisations on his profile, we believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group. We believe that he was trying to migrate to Germany,” he says.
The Iranian arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on the 28th February, at about the same time as the other passenger who traveled with the fake passport. It has not been determined whether the two are related.
While Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation puts its attention on search and rescue efforts and the possibility of pilot error or an aircraft malfunction, the Malaysian police is investigating other areas. These are: the possibilities of a hijack or sabotage, and also to determine whether any of the passengers or crew on board had any psychological or personal issues.
The police also backtracked from the defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein's earlier claim that there were five people who checked-in but did not board MH370.
“From our investigation, there is no such thing. No five passengers who checked-in but did not board. Everyone who booked this flight boarded the plane,” says Khalid.
MAS meanwhile put out a statement saying that search and rescue teams have expanded its scope beyond the flight path to the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca. This is because of a possibility of an attempt by MH370 to make an air turn back to Subang airport.
The US Navy said in a tweet that its Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion is looking as far west as the Andaman Sea. Hishamuddin has also gone on one of the search and rescue flights looking for the MAS 777 in the Straits of Malacca on Malaysia’s west coast.
Debris and oil slicks previously identified by search teams have also been confirmed to not have come from MH370.
As the search for the missing aircraft enters into its fourth day, MAS also said that there were no issues on the health of 9M-MRO. The aircraft had undergone A-checks on 23 February, and was due for its next check only in June.
Though the aircraft was equipped with the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which transmits data automatically, no distress calls nor information were relayed, says the airline.