A man claiming to be the friend of two Iranians who used fake passports to board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight told ABC News that the men stayed at his home the night before the flight vanished.
Mohammad Mallaeibasir, 18, told ABC News that he is a student living in Malaysia who went to high school with one of the men who is believed to have used a fake passport to board the missing flight. He said the other man was a friend of the friend’s, and the pair stayed at Mallaeibasir’s the night before the flight took off.
Mallaeibasir identified the men as Pouria Nour Mohammadi, 19, and Reza Devalar, 29, are both from Iran. He said he went to high school with Pouria, but had not seen him for a couple of years.
They stayed with Mallaeibeasir and his roommate Friday night, and then Mallaeibasir drove them to the airport, where they used stolen Italian and Austrian passports to board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on Saturday morning, he said.
The plane lost contact with air control and radar approximately an hour into its flight and disappeared without a trace. A massive search operation is under way for any sign of the plane in the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Mallaeibasir said he did not know the men were using fake passports until the news stories broke and Pouria’s mother called him and told him about it. Mallaeibasir says he then called Malaysia Airlines and told them all of the information he knew.
Today Malaysian Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar identified one of the two men with stolen passports as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, and said he was likely trying to enter Germany to seek asylum. His mother contacted authorities after he didn’t arrive in Frankfurt.
Interpol later identified the other man as Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, 29.
Law enforcement sources told ABC news today that the men’s tickets were purchased by an Iranian man known as «Mr. Ali.»
Mallaeibasir said that when Pouria and Reza were staying at his house, he heard them briefly talking to an «Ali» on the phone.
«The last night when they were in my home they were talking on the phone for a long time. They were talking in Persian, in their room, and I heard them say ‘OK Ali’ like that in Persian. I didn’t understand because it was like, five seconds. I went into the room to take water from my fridge and I came out and they said, ‘Be quiet, we’re talking.'»
Besides the hushed phone conversations, Mallaeibasir said that the pair just hung out with him and his housemate and watched movies. Then Mallaeibasir drove them to the airport.
«They stayed here only the last night before the flight. They were supposed to stay in Malaysia for three days but I think they stayed for one week,» Mallaebasir said. «They were with me because I had a car and I told them I will take you to the airport. They came to my house.»
Mallaeibasir and Pouria went to high school together in Tehran two years ago, before Mallaebasir moved to Malaysia to study business information technology. He said he did not know Reza until the two arrived at his home for a quick night’s stay.
Mallaeibasir said he did not ask Pouria or Reza why they were in Malaysia. Pouria said he was heading to Germany or Copenhagen after Malaysia in order to visit his mother because they were having family problems, Mallaeibasir said.
The two men traveled lightly, Mallaebasier said. Pouria had a mountain climbing-type backpack and a laptop, while Reza carried a suitcase and a laptop, he said.
After he dropped them at the airport, Mallaebasier called the men on their cell phones. Pouria answered but hung up quickly, and Mallaebasier ended up talking to Reza for about three minutes, he said.