Ten days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished, Thailand said its military radar may have spotted the plane around the time it lost contact with air control, but added that it had not shared the information immediately because nobody specifically asked for it.
Shortly before the flight’s last communication at 1:31 a.m. (1:31 p.m. ET), military equipment "was able to detect a signal, which was not a normal signal, of a plane flying in the direction opposite from the MH370 plane," Thai air force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn said on Tuesday.
The radar signal was infrequent and did not include any data such as the flight number.
Montol’s description of the jet’s twisting flight path took the plane towards the Strait of Malacca where Malaysian radar tracked the jet, but he said the Thai military didn't know whether it had detected MH370.
“We did not pay any attention to it,” he said when asked why it took so long to release the information. “The Royal Thai Air Force only looks after any threats against our country, so anything that did not look like a threat to us, we simply look at it without taking actions."
The plane never entered Thai airspace and Malaysia's initial request for information in the early days of the search was not specific, he added.
"When they asked again and there was new information and assumptions from (Malaysian) Prime Minister Najib Razak, we took a look at our information again," Montol said. "It didn't take long for us to figure out, although it did take some experts to find out about it."
-- The Associated Press
First published March 18 2014, 7:57 AM