Vietnam Thinks It Spotted Plane Debris

Releases photo of supposed wreckage

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 9, 2014 9:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – More than 36 hours into the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines 777, Vietnam says a search plane has found suspected fragments, including a tail piece and a composite inner door. Vietnam's information ministry said that the find was made off its southern coast, about 50 miles from Tho Chu island, reports the Wall Street Journal. (Vietnam released a murky photo of the suspected fragment here.) In a separate report, CNN notes that's about 40 miles away from the area where Vietnam reported seeing oil slicks. But the find appears far from sure: Vietnam says it wasn't able to land near the supposed wreckage, and it's now after dark in the region. Malaysia Airlines says that it has received no confirmation of the find.

Reuters, meanwhile, earlier reported that a "senior source" says officials are looking into the possibility that the plane broke up in mid-air, rather than crashing into the sea whole. " 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," says the source.

A patrol vessel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane off Kelantan, Malaysia, Sunday, March 9, 2014.
A patrol vessel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane off Kelantan, Malaysia, Sunday, March 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency)
Ignatius Ong, right, executive official from Malaysia Airline speaks during a press conference in Beijing, China, Sunday, March 9, 2014.
Ignatius Ong, right, executive official from Malaysia Airline speaks during a press conference in Beijing, China, Sunday, March 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Hugh Dunleavy, commercial director of Malaysia Airlines, speaks at a hotel for relatives of passengers aboard the missing airplane, in Beijing, Sunday, March 9, 2014.
Hugh Dunleavy, commercial director of Malaysia Airlines, speaks at a hotel for relatives of passengers aboard the missing airplane, in Beijing, Sunday, March 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Ground staff take a break under a Malaysia Airlines plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, March 9, 2014.
Ground staff take a break under a Malaysia Airlines plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, March 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
A Vietnamese Air Force AN-26 sits at an airforce base before heading out to the sea between Vietnam and Malaysia where a Malaysian airliner vanished, Ho Chi Minh City, Sunday, March 9, 2014.
A Vietnamese Air Force AN-26 sits at an airforce base before heading out to the sea between Vietnam and Malaysia where a Malaysian airliner vanished, Ho Chi Minh City, Sunday, March 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen)
An oil slick in the seas between Vietnam and Malaysia is seen from the air Sunday, March 9, 2014.
An oil slick in the seas between Vietnam and Malaysia is seen from the air Sunday, March 9, 2014.   (AP Photo)
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