Malaysian authorities examine new radar data on missing plane | News | DW | 19.03.2014
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Malaysian authorities examine new radar data on missing plane

Authorities in Malaysia are looking into radar activity from Thailand that may have detected flight MH370, which has been missing for nearly two weeks. The first day of searching in the Indian Ocean turned up no trace.

Military officials from Thailand reported Wednesday that they had seen an unidentified aircraft come onto their radar around the time flight MH370 went missing on March 8.

"There was a signal of a plane entering our radar but we cannot confirm that it was flight MH370," Thai Air Force spokesman Monthon Sanchukorn said.

The aircraft did not enter Thai airspace, Sanchukorn said, which is why it did not initially draw attention. Only after a review of the recent radar data at the request of Malaysian authorities had the radar contact been reported.

However, the fact that it has taken over ten days for this detail to emerge has raised questions that the countries involved in the search for the missing plane might not be willing to fully share all details of military tracking data.

Southern corridor emphasized

It is believed the Boeing 777 aircraft deliberately deviated from its course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Based on the last tracking data available, it is thought the plane turned west and then flew for several hours off course. Satellite data suggests the plane could have flown on a northern track across Central Asia, or a southern track that would have taken it over the Indian Ocean.

A team led by Australia tasked with searching the southern corridor did not turn up any signs of the plane in its first day of investigating vast expanses of the Indian Ocean on Wednesday. The search area itself is considered to be roughly the size of Australia.

Due to the lack of any kind of radar information from any of the countries the plane would have flown over in the northern corridor, it is a slightly more likely scenario that the plane flew into the southern corridor. If this is the case, it is thought the plane would have run out of fuel and crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Flight MH370 was carrying 239 people when it disappeared. Relatives of the missing passengers and crew are eagerly awaiting news about the plane and have been frustrated by the way Malaysian authorities are conducting the investigation into the missing plane.

Some relatives of Chinese passengers on board the plane were at a press conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur attempting to talk to journalists and hold up a banner about the lack of information they are receiving on the investigation. They were quickly escorted away by Malaysian police - but not before putting up quite a struggle that was captured by journalists' cameras.

mz/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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