Chinese satellites searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have "observed a suspected crash area at sea," a government agency has revealed.
CNN is reporting the Chinese have released days-old images of potential wreckage in the Straits of Malacca in what is possibly the first indication of a crash site five days after the Boeing 777 disappeared with 239 people on board, including six Australians.
However, the BBC says the images were taken in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
China's State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense announced the discovery, including images of what it said were "three suspected floating objects and their sizes".
The images were captured on March 9 - the day after the plane went missing. - but weren't released until today.
The latest Chinese report is likely to be met with caution after images released early this week of suspected aircraft wreckage in the Gulf of Thailand proved to be wrong. Since then, the search area has grown from the Gulf of Thailand to include the Straits of Malacca and Andaman Sea east of the Malaysian peninsula.
Meanwhile, a New Zealander working on an oil rig off the coast of Vietnam reportedly saw a burning object in the sky about the time the missing Malaysia Airlines flight is believed to have crashed.
Flight MH370 dropped out of sight an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early on Saturday, under clear night skies and with no suspicion of any mechanical problems. Missing are 239 people.
ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff obtained an email sent by New Zealander Mike McKay, who works on the "Songa Mercur" oil rig in the South China Sea, to his bosses detailing what he saw.
In the email McKay said that he "observed the plane burning at high altitude . . . in one piece" about 50-70 kilometres from his location.
He gave coordinates for the location of the rig, which recently moved from Cuba to the shores of Vietnam.
Doan Huu Gia, deputy general director of Vietnam's air traffic management, confirmed they had been sent the email, the BBC reported.
"We received an email from a New Zealander who works on one of the oil rigs off Vung Tau.
"He said he spotted a burning [object] at that location, some 300 km southeast of Vung Tau."
The Vietnamese authorities sent a plane to investigate the sighting, but it found nothing, Vietnamese naval officer Le Ming Thanh told ABC News.
Officials still do not know what went wrong with the aircraft, and several leads pursued so far have proven not to be linked to the plane.
- theage.com.au and stuff.co.nz