Men Who Used Stolen Passports on Missing Malaysia Flight Were Iranian, Not Black

The country’s civil-aviation chief had originally said at least one man was black and resembled soccer player Mario Balotelli.

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This composite of images #477770287 & #477770285 shows cctv imagery released by police of an Iranian suspect, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, who was travelling on Flight MH370 with a stolen Austrian passport, (L) and an unindentified suspect who was travelling on Flight MH370 with a stolen Italian passport (R), on March 11, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Officials have expanded the search area for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to include more of the Gulf of Thailand between Malayisa and Vietnam and land along the Malay Pensinusula. The flight carrying 239 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Thailand was reported missing on the morning of March 8 after the crew failed to check in as scheduled. Relatives of the missing passengers have been advised to prepare for the worst as authorities focus on two passengers on board travelling with stolen passports. 

Photo by How Foo Yeen/Getty Images

The two men who used stolen passports to board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight were not black, as was previously reported, but in fact asylum seekers from Iran, Fox News reports.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble confirmed that 19-year-old Pouri Nourmohammadi and 29-year-old Delavar Seyedmohammaderza had traveled to Malaysia on Iranian passports from Tehran, but later got the stolen Italian and Austrian passports in Kuala Lumpur to travel to Beijing, hoping to eventually end up in Amsterdam. The two apparently planned to travel together.

Upon reaching Amsterdam, the men would have split ways, as Malaysian authorities claimed that Nourmohammadi wanted to continue to Frankfurt, Germany, where his mother resides, while Seyedmohammaderza was expected to end up in Denmark, Fox notes.

It had been previously reported on Monday that at least one of the men was black, when Malaysia’s chief aviation chief, Dato’ Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, claimed that one of the men looked like Italian soccer pro Mario Balotelli.

The flight seemingly disappeared into thin air on Saturday shortly after taking off from Malaysia. No signs of the plane—not even debris—have been spotted, sparking speculation as to what could have happened, ranging from pilot error to terrorism.

The search—which includes nine aircraft and 24 ships from nine countries—has been expanded beyond the expected flight path. The U.S. has contributed two navy ships and a Navy P-3C Orion plane, the news site reports.

Read more at Fox News.