A Vietnamese oil rig worker claims to have witnessed the crash of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
“I believe I saw the Malaysian Airlines plane come down. The timing is right,” reads an email the worker, working on the south-eastern coast of Vietnam, sent to his employer.
Vietnamese officials received the letter and searched the area but found nothing, Mashable reports.
The worker described seeing what he thought was a burning plane flying perpendicular to the route usually taken by planes crossing 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.
Authorities expanded the search area for the missing plane on Wednesday after reports that the flight may have changed directions before disappearing from radar.
Search teams first investigated the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam, but new reports from the Malaysian military suggest that the plane switched its course and headed west, where search teams are currently looking.
A senior officer from the Malaysian military told Reuters that the plane flew hundreds of kilometers to the west (approximately 350 miles) after it made its final contact with civilian air traffic control.
“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the officer said.
The plane was about halfway between Malaysia’s east coast town of Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam when it lost communication with civilian air traffic control, flying at roughly 1,000 meters lower than its previous altitude.
What happened to the plane and the 239 people on board remains a mystery.
Relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers vented their frustration over the lack of information at a meeting with airline officials and the Malaysian embassy in Beijing yesterday.
At least three people threw water bottles at officials while many shouted “Tell us the truth,” suggesting that the Malaysian military is withholding facts surrounding the fate of their loved ones.
The theory about the plane flying around 350 miles after losing contact suggests the improbability of a sudden mechanical failure because the aircraft would have gone down right away if this were the case.
Authorities are investigating the psychological backgrounds and personal lives of the passengers and crew members to see if anyone had cause to hijack or sabotage the flight, which has been missing since last Friday in one of the most baffling catastrophes in aviation history.