In the early hours of Saturday, a Malaysian passenger jet with more than 200 people on board vanished in the skies over Southeast Asia.

On Tuesday, investigators appeared to be no closer to explaining how a large plane could seemingly disappear into thin air.

A large-scale search involving boats and planes from a range of countries continues at sea. Relatives of the people on board keep up their painful wait for news. Officials have warned them to prepare for the worst.

And theories abound about what may have taken place.
Quest: They have ‘no idea where plane is’

THE PASSPORT MYSTERY

What we know: The tickets for the two people using the stolen Italian and Austrian passports were both bought Thursday in Thailand, according to ticketing records. Both tickets were one-way and had itineraries continuing on from Beijing to Amsterdam. One ticket’s final destination was Frankfurt, Germany; the other’s Copenhagen, Denmark. The original owners of the passports were not on the missing plane, authorities say. Both had their passports stolen in Thailand — the Austrian’s was taken last year and the Italian’s in 2012.

Malaysian authorities have identified one of the men using the stolen passports as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, a 19-year-old Iranian. They believe he was trying to emigrate to Germany using the stolen Austrian passport.

What we don’t know: Who the people using the stolen passports are, and whether they have any connection to the plane’s disappearance.

The stolen passports raised fears that foul play could be behind the plane’s disappearance. But authorities say they don’t believe the Iranian man is likely to be a member of a terrorist group, noting that his mother told them she was expecting him to arrive in Germany. There are previous cases of illegal immigrants using fake passports to try to enter Western countries. And Southeast Asia is known to be a booming market for stolen passports.

(article courtesy -edition.cnn.com)