US fleet commander says radar hits not from missing plane

US navy commander William Marks (pic) confirmed that the radar hits picked by a P-8 Poseidon aircraft from the Indian Ocean was not connected to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. — Reuters pic
US navy commander William Marks (pic) confirmed that the radar hits picked by a P-8 Poseidon aircraft from the Indian Ocean was not connected to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — A US navy commander said the radar hits picked up by a P-8 Poseidon aircraft from the Indian Ocean was not connected to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Commander William Marks confirmed this, according to an ABC News report, following reports from the aircraft that radar hits of “significant size” indicated that something could be lurking beneath the surface of the water.

He said such signals are typical and did not come from the aircraft, the report said.

Earlier, ABC News’ David Wright, who is the only TV reporter on board the US Navy’s P-8 Poseidon, informed the network that flight crew had told him “there is something down there”.

Australian officials said this afternoon that some debris have been sighted to the south of the search zone for MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

Several assets from the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and United States Navy were then deployed to the area.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Emergency Response division general manager John Young said this is the “best lead” so far in the search for missing aircraft, which entered the 13th day today.

“This is a lead, probably the best lead we have in the search, but we need to get there to see if it is related to MH370,” he told a press conference in Canberra.

He said search assets have been directed towards the location of the debris sighting some 2,500km off the coast of Perth in Western Australia, including three P3 Orions — two from Australia and one from New Zealand — and a US P8 Poseidon.

The Australian discovery is the latest of many leads that have emerged in the nearly two weeks since MH370’s disappearance on the morning of Saturday, March 8.

The Beijing-bound aircraft went missing under an hour after it left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 12.41am that morning, leaving behind little clues to where it went and what happened on board that led to its disappearance.

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