TODAY | March 11, 2014
>> you about overnight with this investigation into the plane that's missing.
>> of course, that is our top story this morning. those developments. this morning in the search for flight 370, we're also learning more about the two men who boarded the malaysian airlines flight using stolen passports. nbc's tom costello covers aviation for us. tom, good morning to you.
>> reporter: good morning. incidentally, the gentleman you just saw there, that's the captain of the plane. he's not one of the two who stole passports. we're now in the fourth day of the search for this missing plane now wrapping up in asia, and still nothing. really, one of the most baffling events in aviation history . and now malaysian authorities are considering whether there was a mechanical issue or did someone on board have a psychological problem? for the first time this morning, we are getting a look at one of the two men who boarded flight 370 with a stolen passport. malaysian authorities released this picture of 19-year-old eouria nour mohammad mehrdad, an earnian national who officials believe was seeking political asylum in germany. investigators believe his ticket and another ticket used were bought by an iranian businessman, both tickets booked as a one-way to europe.
>> we have been checking his background. we believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group .
>> reporter: while u.s. officials see no connection to terrorism, at a press conference earlier this morning, the malaysian official speculated about possible scenarios.
>> one is hijacking. two, sabotage. three, psychological problem of the passengers and crew. and four, personal problem among passengers and crew.
>> reporter: meantime, for the first time, video of the captain sitting in front of his elaborate in-home simulator.
>> this is a video that i made as a community service .
>> reporter: so what happened to flight 370? cruising at 35,000 feet is supposed to be the safest part of the flight. usually on autopilot, the crew periodically checking in with air traffic control . why, without warning, did the pilot stop communicating, then go off radar? so far, no one has heard the underwater pinger attached to the black boxes that should be good for 30 days . no emergency beacon signals. and no radar track showing where the plane might be. at flight aware , they try to track planes worldwide, but it's only as good as the local radar technology. and in some areas, there are big holes in the coverage zones.
>> any mistake or technical problem or radar outage along the way can cause either a lack of communication or a lack of radar availability. it's not uncommon.
>> reporter: we're talking about the commercial radar there. the military radar is something else. and we have an important point worth stressing now. the search area now includes both the east and the west coasts of malaysia, which are in opposite directions, with seven hours of fuel on board, this plane had the potential to fly 3,500 miles. so the potential search zone is enormous. guys, back to you.
>> all right. tom costello on this story for us. thanks