Above: The Chinese government has released satellite images, captured Sunday, that appear to show three large objects in the South China Sea in the vicinity of where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radar early Saturday morning. Mike Drolet reports on the search.
UPDATE: Malaysia’s civil aviation chief says no plane debris was found at a location shown by China’s satellite images.
Previous Story: TORONTO – Satellite images that a Chinese science and defence agency say may show debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 cannot be confirmed, according to a senior aviation official.
Li Jiaxiang, chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told reporters Thursday that the authorities could not confirm that the three objects of varying sizes detected by Chinese satellites belong to the missing aircraft.
“It is true that the satellite was launched and detected some smoke and what were suspected metal shreds about 37 kilometres (23 miles) southeast of Ho Chi Minh City,” said Li Jiaxiang, chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. “But after some review, we cannot confirm that they belong to the missing plane.”
The debris was spotted in the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam and east of Malaysia on Sunday morning.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday the largest of the suspected pieces of debris measures about 24 metres (79 feet) by 22 metres (72 feet).
CCTV America tweeted the satellite images Wednesday afternoon but noted they had not verified their authenticity.
Earlier Wednesday it was reported that an oil rig worker claimed he saw Flight 370 crash while working off the south coast of Vietnam.
ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff obtained a copy of an email the man said he sent to his employer stating he witnessed the crash.
“I believe I saw the Malaysia Airlines plane come down. The timing is right,” the man said in the email. “I tried to contact the Malaysian and Vietnam officials several days ago. But I don’t know if the message has been received.”
It was also revealed Wednesday that the last message from the cockpit of the missing flight was routine. “All right, good night,” was the signoff transmitted to air traffic controllers five days ago.
The search for the missing plane, which left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday, now encompasses 92,600 square kilometres of Southeast Asia and is expanding toward India.
Two-thirds of the passengers on the flight were Chinese, and the Chinese government has put increasing pressure on Malaysian officials to solve the mystery of the plane’s disappearance.
With no debris found yet, authorities have not ruled out any possible causes, including mechanical failure, pilot error, sabotage or terrorism.
-With files from The Associated Press