12 March 2014 – FINAL UPDATE
The very latest on the missing Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370
Could this be the answer we are all looking for or is it yet another lead that goes nowhere?
From Mashable – Amanda Wills reports.
An oil rig worker working off the south-eastern coast of Vietnam claims to have witnessed the crash of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
In a email sent to his employer, which was acquired, confirmed, and then shared by the ABC journalist Bob Woodruff, the man says, “I believe I saw the Malaysian Airlines plane come down. The timing is right.”
Vietnamese officials reportedly confirmed they got the letter, but found nothing in the water.
He describes seeing what he believes to be the plane burning — in one piece — at high altitude, flying perpendicular to the standard plane routes that cross over the area. “From when I first saw the burning (plane) until the flames went out (still at high altitude) was 10-15 seconds. There was no lateral movement, so it was either coming toward our location, stationary, or going away from our location,” he writes.
However, a BBC expert says the letter from the oil rig worker is a sham adding that the company operating the rig has no employee with that name.
Authorities expanded the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane to 27,000 square miles on Wednesday after reports that flight 370 may have changed directions before disappearing from radar.
Search teams initially combed over the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam for any clues as to what may have happened to the missing aircraft that was carrying 239 people. However, a source inside the Malaysian military said Tuesday that the plane switched directions and headed west, prompting search teams to look in a whole new direction.
Malaysian air force chief Gen. Rodzali Daud reportedly said military radar had spotted the jet over the Strait of Malacca. Hours later, however, Malaysian authorities are now casting doubt on this theory after Daud retracted his report, saying, “I wish to state that I did not make any such statements.”
Daud’s waffling seems to be part of a trend in the search for flight 370. Every lead that Malaysian authorities have chased has turned up nothing but confusion. This is partly why Phan Quy Tieu, Vietnam’s vice minister of transportation, told reporters on Wednesday that the country was pulling back on its hunt until Malaysia had something solid to go on from here. So far, he said, the information provided is “insufficient.”
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that Daud on Wednesday said Malaysia’s air force is still “examining and analyzing all possibilities as regards to the airliner’s flight paths subsequent to its disappearance.”
But while Vietnam is scaling back, Japan and Indonesia are ramping up efforts. Eight members of a Japanese search team arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to prepare for the arrival of two C-130 transport aircraft of the Air Self-Defense Force and two P-3C patrol planes of the Maritime Self-Defense Force. Indonesian authorities deployed its search mission over the Strait of Malacca as well.