25/04/2014 11:40 BST | Updated 25/04/2014 11:59 BST

MH370 Missing Plane: Malaysian Military Radar DID Track An Aircraft After Disappearence, PM Finally Admits

Pool via Getty Images
IN FLIGHT - APRIL 11: A crew member of a Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) P-3K2-Orion aircraft helps to look for objects during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in flight over the Indian Ocean on April 13, 2014 off the coast of Perth, Australia. Search and rescue officials in Australia are confident they know the approximate position of the black box recorders from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday. At the same tim

A Malaysian military aircraft did track an unidentified aircraft in the country’s airspace at the time of MH370 losing contact with the ground control, the Malaysian Prime Minister has finally admitted – six weeks after the passenger jet disappeared.

Najib Razak said the radar tracked aircraft after it had turned back on its from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

READ MORE: Missing Plane MH370 Conspiracy Theory Goes Viral: Was Passenger Jet Shot Down By American Military Forces?

The Malaysian PM said he initially didn’t believe but was told that the military radars have some capability.

"To be honest, I found it hard to believe," the Prime Minister told CNN.

"It's a bizarre scenario which none of us could have contemplated so that's why when I met the team...of foremost experts in aviation industry I asked them again and again 'are you sure?'"

"And their answer to me was we are as sure as we can possibly be."

But the authorities are not sure whether it was MH370 or any other aircraft.

Malaysia will release a preliminary report next week on the disappearance of flight MH370, Prime Minister Najib Razak said, as his government continues to battle criticism over the transparency of its investigation.

"I have directed an internal investigation team of experts to look at the report, and there is a likelihood that next week we could release the report," Najib told CNN.

Malaysian officials said Wednesday the report already had been sent to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which requires countries to submit within 30 days a factual run-down of what is known so far in any air crash.

The search for the missing plane is likely to drag on for years, a senior US defence official told Reuters on Friday, as an underwater search for any trace of the plane's wreckage off west Australia appeared to have failed.

The official, speaking under condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment on the search effort, said two weeks of scouring the Indian Ocean floor with a US Navy submersible drone had turned up no wreckage.

He said the search for the jetliner, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board, would now enter a much harder phase of scouring broader areas of the ocean near where the plane is believed to have crashed.

"We went all in on this small area and didn't find anything. Now you've got to go back to the big area," the official said. "And now you're talking years."

When Mr Najib was asked if he believed the plane was now lost, he said it cannot be declared as such until there is hard evidence that the plane crashed.

“Right now I think I need to take into account the feelings of the next of kin – and some of them have said publicly that they are not willing to accept it until they find hard evidence.”