Yesterday, Malaysian authorities of the search for the missing Malaysian Airline Boeing 777 said that military radar showed the plane radically changed course to the west and flew for up to 350 miles before dropping from radar trace. It was that analysis that caused the search area to broaden enormously.
Today? Not so fast. CNS News reports that the authorities now say that the radar track concerned has not been actually identified as the missing airliner and that the track is not conclusive.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysian authorities defended their handling of the hunt for the missing Boeing 777 on Wednesday even as they acknowledged they were unsure which direction the plane was headed when it disappeared, highlighting the massive task facing an international search mission now in its fifth day. ...So far, many hypotheses and darn few facts.
Malaysian authorities have since said that say air defense radar picked up traces of what might have been the plane turning back and flying until it reached the Strait of Malacca, a busy shipping lane west of the narrow nation some 250 miles from the plane's last known coordinates.
Military and government officials on Wednesday said American experts, and the manufacturer of the radar systems, were examining that data to confirm it showed the Boeing 777. Until then, they said the search would continue on both sides of the country, with an equal focus.
Update: A short course in how transponders work.