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Instructions for military search and rescue aircraft involved in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet are “not very clear,” a senior South Korean military official reportedly said Wednesday amid international frustration about the pace of the investigation.
Several nations, including India, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia, said they had ships and aircraft sitting idle while they awaited instructions from Kuala Lumpur, which has been overseeing the international operation, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The apparent confusion came a day after Malaysia’s Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said some countries had been asked “to take another look at their primary radar data” in case clues had been missed that could aid the probe.
That was followed by a report that new military radar data from Thailand showed an unidentified plane, possibly Flight 370, flying toward the strait minutes after the Malaysian jet's transponder signal was lost.
Air force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn said the Thai military doesn't know whether the plane it detected was Flight 370, the Associated Press reported.
Thailand's failure to quickly share that information may not substantially change what Malaysian officials now know, but it raises questions about the degree to which some countries are sharing their defense data, the AP said.
Twenty-six countries are now involved in the search effort, which Hishammuddin said was “unprecedented”, and the search area has been expanded to almost three million square miles – an area the size of Australia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.