Nightly News   |  March 24, 2014

Bill Neely: Navy Flew at 200 Feet to Search for Plane Debris

NBC News’ Bill Neely flew aboard a Navy P-8 search plane scanning the vast region of the Indian Ocean.

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

>>> tempo of the flight search has picked up in the vast area of the southern indiana oce indian ocean looking for clues about what happened. nbc's bill neely was there with the p-3 that can search as closely as possible. he is back there tonight, good evening.

>> reporter: yes, i was on board, a very dramatic flight, a u.s. navy plane that took off from here. we were about six hours into the flight when we got a message to divert immediately. chinese and australian plains we flew alongside just saw debris, so we dropped 200 feet. remember, this is a boeing 737 , you and i fly it at 35,000 feet. it had never flown so low. cameras were on board, i have to tell you, it was all eyes on, five radar operators looking at their screens, three pilots at the front searching the ocean. the problem was the visibility was terrible. a low sea fog that even at 200 feet made seeing the ocean very, very difficult. we did get two or three confirmed radar hits but no visuals. the search continues today. but that was -- for that u.s. crew, about as low as they could possibly go. brian?

>> bill neely back on dry land in perth, australia as a new day breaks there, thank you.