Vietnamese media reported that authorities have detected signals from a missing Malaysia Airlines flight off the southwestern coast of Vietnam on Saturday, hours after the flight went missing during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact early Saturday morning over the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam.
The release of the satellite images came as China's Premier said his government would pursue any leads in the search for the aircraft, which carried on board 5 Indians, 154 Chinese, 38 Malaysians and nationals of Indonesia, the U.S., France and half a dozen other countries.
At the time it lost contact with civilian air traffic control, the plane was roughly midway between Malaysia's east coast town of Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam, flying at 10,670 metres (35,000 feet).
Satellite images on a Chinese government website show suspected debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner floating off the southern tip of Vietnam, near the plane's original flight path, China's Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.
The revelation could provide searchers with a focus that has eluded them since the plane disappeared with 239 people aboard early Saturday.
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Passengers on flight MH370
|China/Taiwan||153 (1 infant)|
|USA||3 (1 infant)|
|Italy||1 (stolen passport)|
|Austria||1 (stolen passport)|
Family members have been told to prepare for the worst" The potential debris was in a similar area to a possible oil slick seen by Vietnamese navy planes.
Helicopters were scrambled on Monday to a floating "yellow object" that rescue teams believed could be a life raft from the missing Malaysian Airlines plane - but it turned out to be a false alarm.
Pham Quy Tieu, Vietnam's vice transport minister and deputy head of the its rescue committee, said that a search plane had initially been unable to get close enough to determine what it was.
However, officials later said it was a "moss-covered cap of a cable reel."