NBC News   |  March 24, 2014

Neely: 'Intense' Day Searching for flight MH370

NBC's Bill Neely describes being aboard a US plane searching for the missing Malaysian plane.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> guthrie: we want to turn to nbc´s bill neely . he´s in perth , australia. of course, we all know that is where this search -- about 1,500 miles off the coast of perth is where this search is taking place. and, bill, you were on a u.s. plane this morning as it flew over the search area. good morning to you.

>> neely: good morning. yes, i´ve just stepped off that u.s. navy poseidon plane. it was a very dramatic day, indeed. we were about six hours into the flight when suddenly the crew got a call to divert immediately because of two possible sightings of debris. so we diverted south, and we spent a very intense 30 or 40 minutes searching for the debris. this boeing plane descended to 200 feet above the water. we really were skimming the indian ocean , searching for this debris. five radar operators, a video camera underneath the plane giving them a continuous video feed , spotters on either side of the plane, three pilots at the front, looking through the cockpit. they tried and tried, but the visibility was appalling. there was so much sea fog that even at 200 feet, for most of the time, you couldn´t actually see the ocean. so we crossed over the debris field twice, and they knew something was there because they were getting pings on the radar -- confirmed pings -- two or three, of something in the water, but they simply couldn´t see it. they were very, very frustrated, indeed. but they considered their mission a success because they had cleared a lot of area where they had been told to search. but that was a very intense day on board that plane -- a 10-hour operation. they flew the lowest they have ever flown and the longest time in the search area.

>> guthrie: all right, bill neely in perth , australia, for us this morning.