Malaysia's Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein answers a journalist's question at a news conference in a hotel near Kuala Lumpur May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said
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Malaysia's defense minister on Monday defended his military's failure to scramble a fighter jet to follow a Malaysian airliner when it veered off course and vanished two months ago, saying it wasn't seen as a hostile object.Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 became invisible to civilian radar when its transponder stopped transmitting during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 . But the plane was tracked by Malaysian military radar after it turned in a westerly direction across Peninsular Malaysia.The original search of less than 400 square kilometers (155 square miles) of ocean floor where sounds consistent with aircraft black boxes were thought to have emanated was conducted by an unmanned U.S. Navy sub, the Bluefin 21, near its 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) depth limit.
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