Vietnamese aircraft reported spotting an object in the water on Sunday which they suspect belongs to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as a senior source told Reuters that officials are considering the possibility that the plane disintegrated mid-flight.
Fox News reports:
The state-run Thanh Nien newspaper cited Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnam’s army, as saying searchers in a low-flying plane had spotted an object suspected of being a door from the missing jet. It was found in waters about 56 miles south of Tho Chu island, in the same area where oil slicks were spotted Saturday.
“From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane,” Tuan said. Thanh Nien said two ships from the maritime police were heading to the site.
Because of the dark, aircraft were not able to identify the object yesterday evening but three search and rescue boats have since been deployed to the location.
As search teams have not been able to make a confirmed discovery of wreckage, a senior source told Reuters on Sunday that officials are further investigating the possibility that the plane disintegrated mid-flight.
“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” said the source, who took part in preliminary investigations in Malaysia.
He added that if the plane had fallen intact from such heights, search teams would likely have found a concentrated pattern of debris in the water.
Meanwhile, officials are looking into the identities of at least two, possibly four, passengers who boarded the flight using stolen passports.
According to flight information, the two passengers who used stolen passports appear to have bought their tickets together from China Southern Airlines.
“I’ve seen these reports about the passports. We’re looking into that, but we don’t have anything to confirm at this point,” U.S. deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said to CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday. “The reports certainly raise questions and concerns, and that’s exactly why we’re looking into them. But right now, it would be premature to speculate,” he said.
UPDATE (2:18 p.m.): Director-general of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said during a press conference that authorities have not been able to confirm any positive sighting.
“Unfortunately ladies and gentleman, we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft,” he said.
“There are various reports or sightings of objects that…agencies have reported with the various media. There was a report Vietnamese located an unidentified piece of the aircraft…it may have been a door of the aircraft,” he said.
“To inform all of you, that report was not verified officially by the Vietnamese authorities to date.”
Previously on Shanghaiist:
Flight change saved Chinese journalist from boarding missing plane