Ten days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing with 239 people on board, Thailand finally released radar data that could be another lead in the hunt to find the missing flight. So why did Thailand wait so long to share the data with the Malaysian-led international search efforts? Because nobody specifically asked for it, Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn said to the AP.
As always with stories about leads for Flight 370, it's important to proceed with caution. Given that current theories about the plane's disappearance involve the assumption that it flew for hours without sending radar data, it's not clear how helpful the Thai radar information can be. So for what it's worth, the new radar information depicts a plane that might be Flight 370 taking a "twisting" path to the Strait of Malacca, outside of Thai airspace. The Thai military emphasized that they're not sure whether this plane is Flight 370 or not. A week after the plane's disappearance, Malaysian officials confirmed that their radar data indicates the plane did enter the Strait.
Montol responded to questions about the delay in his country's data release by saying that the Air Force "did not pay any attention to" the plane on their radar. He added: "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." 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...It didn't take long for us to figure out, although it did take some experts to find out about it."
Right now, there's plenty of speculation on why Flight 370 disappeared. But the search area for the plane is only expanding, as international teams appear no closer to finding the jet than they were days ago. Based on an assumption that the plane flew for a long while without sending out radar data, officials have expanded their search to an area of nearly 30 million square miles.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.