The two men who boarded missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with stolen passports have been identified as Iranians, neither of whom have any ties to terror.
According to ABC News, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the first the man, 19-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, was most likely looking to seek asylum in Germany.
His grief-stricken mother contacted transportation authorities after finding out he did not reach Frankfurt.
The second man was identified by Interpol as 29-year-old Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza.
Interpol secretary general Ronald K. Noble said earlier today that the two traveled to Malaysia with legitimate Iranian passports but then switched to the stolen Austrian and Italian documents before boarding the flight, which has been missing since Friday.
Noble said that the new information made terrorism a less probable cause for the disappearance.
But investigators still have not entirely ruled out hijacking, sabotage or personal motives of passengers or a crew member to bring the plane down. The pilots did not send any distress signals, suggesting a sudden and quite possibly catastrophic turn of events.
The search for the Boeing 777 has since expanded to the opposite side of the country’s coast.
Malaysia Airlines said search and rescue teams “have expanded the scope beyond the flight path to the West Peninsula of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca,” ABC News reports.
Authorities are trying to determine whether the plane attempted to turn back toward Malaysia before it disappeared. If it did make a U-turn, as military radar suggests, the plane could have crashed into the sea on the other side of Malaysia, opposite from where it was reported missing.
This still does not explain, however, why the plane did not appear on radar while flying in Malaysian territory.
In another eerie development, family members of some of the 239 people on board the said they were getting ring tones when dialing the phones of their missing loved ones.
Daily Mail reports that the sister of one of the missing Chinese passengers dialed her brother’s phone on live television, showing the world that it still rings as if it were working just fine.
“This morning, around 11:40, I called my older brother’s number twice, and I got the ringing tone,” the woman said.
She called again a few hours later to hear it ringing once more.
Malaysia Airlines official Hugh Dunleavy said that his company has called the cell phones of crew members and heard ringing on the other line as well.
Authorities are seeing if they can triangulate the GPS signal on the missing persons’ smartphones to find their location.