Malaysian Flight 370: Tech Expert Downplays Ringing of Missing Plane Passenger Cellphones; Holder of Stolen Italian Passport Posted Selfie in FB Before Boarding Ill-Fated Flight (VIDEOS)
By Vittorio Hernandez | March 13, 2014 9:45 AM EST
A man travelling on a stolen passport on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was a young Iranian who has no links to terrorists.
Because of uncertainty over the fate of the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 jet, some family members of the more than 200 passengers aboard the ill-fated plane hang on to thin threads of hope that their loved ones are still alive.
One such thread is that the mobile phones of their relatives are still ringing.
However, a technology expert dashed hopes as he explained that the ringing is only an indicator that the caller has connected with the passenger's network and the network is attempting to locate the owner of the phone, explained Jeff Kagan, columnist of E-Commerce Times, to CNN.
Failure to find the phone owner's location would lead to disconnection.
Mr Kagan said, "So, they're hearing ringing and they're assuming it's connecting to their loves ones, but it's not. It's the network sending a signal to the phone letting them know it's looking for them."
The explanation makes senses because no relative has reported a passenger picking up their calls or making text replies.
Further, if there was a mid-air mishap, and some miraculously survived, chances are the passengers have been separated from their phones which are likely inside their bags or pockets, but probably shut off, so there's little expectation for calls for relatives to get through.
A third factor is that batteries of mobile phones normally last only for a few days. Most travelers are heavy users of handheld devices as they communicate back home or to their travel destinations. That means even if they survive an accident or if the plane is somewhere in an undisclosed location and held by terrorists or hijackers, by now most of their phone batteries would be dead.
The plane had been missing for almost a week with hopes and patience of relatives thinning out.
One thing, though, appears to be clearer - that is the two Iranian passengers who used stolen passports and boarded the ill-fated flight are not linked to terrorism groups.
Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar disclosed that Pouri Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, entered Malaysia on Feb 28. His mother, who was waiting for him in Frankfurt, was aware that her son was traveling using a stolen passport, seen as a way for him to a better life in Europe.
The Iranian youth even posted selfies on Facebook with several Malaysian landmarks such as the Petronas towers as background as proof of his stopover before he restarts his new life in Frankfurt.
Unfortunately for the two misguided youth, it appears they have taken a detour of life's journey with no one sure whether they would ever see their families again as the limbo status of the 239 on board the plane stretches from days into weeks.
To contact the editor, e-mail: