Search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight changes course

(WXYZ) - The search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is changing course now that authorities say the plane was far from where it should have been.

Search and rescue teams have a new body of water to scour now that military officials are saying the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was hundreds of miles off course.

The Boeing 777 vanished after taking off at 12:20am Saturday from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

After four days of frantic searches in the Gulf of Thailand and in the jungles of Vietnam for the 239 passengers and crew members, it appears the plane was flying in opposite direction of its intended destination.

Malaysian Air Force officials said the last military radar detection of the airliner happened at 2:40am Saturday near the northern approach to the Malacca Straights, heading toward Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, not Beijing.

After that – the signal was lost.

"When you're looking for something in this wide sea, it's a reality check - how to find even a huge aircraft like the 777. But we must never, never give up hope," said Malaysian Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein.

Also Tuesday, authorities revealed they know more about the two men who boarded the plane using stolen passports.

Interpol officials say they were Iranian Nationals:  one posing as an Italian, the other as an Austrian.  When he failed to arrive in Germany, his mother told police he had been seeking asylum there, leading Interpol’s Secretary to suggest they were likely not terrorists.

“The interest seems to be dying down because these might just be people who are being smuggled,” said Interpol Secretary Ron Noble.

But the head of the CIA is saying they can’t rule out terrorism yet.

Malaysian police say they are looking at these possibilities for this mid-air mystery: hijacking, sabotage,
Psychological problems with the passengers or crew, and mechanical failure.

As dozens of aircraft and ships frantically search for any sign of survivors, families are becoming desperate and time is running out.

"I just want to find the plane at all cost. As long as we're still standing as long as people are praying for us, we will continue to persevere. This is something I will not stop, this is what I promised the families," said Hussein.

Also, many of the waiting family members said they had been able to call the cell phones of the missing passengers.  Up until late Monday, some were finding their loved ones listed as still “online” on a Chinese instant messenger service known as QQ.  

There were reports out of Singapore as well that Malaysia Airlines had also been calling the mobile phones belonging to crew members; the phones were ringing, and those numbers had been turned over to authorities. 

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