SEPANG (MALAYSIA) (TIP): The authorities in Malaysia acknowledged on March 12 that they had detected radar signals showing what could be the country’s missing airliner veering sharply off course and hundreds of miles away from its last known position but failed to disclose the data for four days even as they struggled to interpret it.
Officials said they had given the radar data to American investigators who would assist in helping to determine whether the radar blips were likely to have come from the missing Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. “We are still not sure that it is the same aircraft ,” Hishammuddin Hussein, the country’s defence minister, told reporters .
“That is why we are searching in two areas.” Malaysian officials had previously said that they had evidence that the plane had possibly attempted to “turn back,” but they had not detailed the extent of military radar records until March 12. A Malaysian newspaper article on Tuesday reported the existence of military radar data, but the air force had described that as “misreporting .”
On Wednesday, the head of the air force, general Rodzali Daud, said the radar blips, of which there were several, had disappeared from screens at 2.15am, about 90 minutes after Flight 370 took off. The last radar return was 200 miles northwest of the Malaysian island of Penang, he said, putting the plane in the eastern approaches of the Indian Ocean.