The Slatest

Report: Malaysian Military Actively Tracked Plane After It Turned Around

One of the vessels searching the Indian Ocean for MH370.

Photo by LSIS James Whittle/Australia Department of Defence via Getty Images

Reuters has a scoop this morning on the Malaysian military’s reaction to the missing MH370 flight:

“When we were alerted, we got our boys to check the military radar. We noticed that there was an unmarked plane flying back but (we) could not confirm (its identity),” said the senior military source. “Based on the information we had from ATC (Air Traffic Control) and DCA (Department of Civil Aviation), we did not send up any jets because it was possibly mechanical problems and the plane might have been going back to Penang.”


The military has not publicly acknowledged it tracked the plane in real time as it crossed back over the peninsula.

It’s been previously known that MH370 disappeared from civilian radar at 1:21 a.m. and that there was evidence that it could have appeared on military radar as late as 2:15 a.m. Reuters’ sources say that military officials were actively watching the plane’s progress at around 2:00 a.m.— which means they could have scrambled jets to track it before it vanished entirely, but chose not to.

Meanwhile, off the coast of Australia, the team searching for the plane’s black box is now “optimistic“  it will be found.

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.