There are indications the world is close to finding the wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared after losing contact. The Chinese government has just released satellite images, which were taken Sunday, and may show wreckage of the plane in the South China Sea somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam. According to CNN, three objects floating on the surface of the ocean are fairly significant in size with apparent dimensions of 43 by 59 feet, 46 by 62, and 24 by 22.
These could feasibly be wing segments of a 777 since the plane’s wingspan is more than 200 feet. Aviation experts are saying, however, that the problem with the floating objects is that they appear to be relatively squared and rectangular and don’t comport with anything associated with an aircraft.
The images were captured on Sunday, a day after the flight disappeared, but there is no explanation why they have not been published until now by China’s State Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense. The agency was likely scanning thousands of images over the course of the past several days.
If the coordinates provided by the Chinese are correct, and the objects turn out to be 777 debris, the aircraft will have been discovered in an area that it logically would have fallen after losing contact. The Malaysian military has previously said it had acquired a late signal from the plane hundreds of miles distant, which appeared to confirm the notion that the plane had turned after communications ended, but officials have since backtracked on that information.
The coordinates for the wreckage provided by the Chinese are 105.63 east longitude and 6.7 north latitude, which are not far off from a possible sighting of the plane by an oil platform worker. ABC News published the text of a letter from a New Zealander named Mike McKay who appears to have contacted Vietnamese officials claiming he saw the aircraft burning while still at altitude. The approximate coordinates he offered for his surface observation, which were not significantly different from the Chinese, and his description of the plane possibly burning while still at altitude, could account for any discrepancy in the location from the Chinese satellite finding. Even while burning, the plane could have covered significant distance.
McKay’s email said the “timing was right” for his observation. He said the plane appeared to still be in “one piece” and burned for “10-15 seconds.” His observations also indicated that even though he considered the sighting to still be at altitude that the presumed aircraft was still lower than those he saw on a daily basis by watching contrails. The location is south of Vietnam and northeast of Kuala Lumpur, where the flight originated.
Presumably, there are numerous search assets en route to the location.