It has been five days since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mysteriously disappeared, and, still, those involved in recovery efforts have yet to find any wreckage of the plane — or anything at all that indicates where the plane might be. But, based on reports, someone actually might have spotted the plane in distress. An oil rig worker in Vietnam said he saw the plane crash in an email to his employer. Read the email, "I believe I saw the Malaysian Airlines plane come down. The timing is right." (The email was acquired by veteran ABC reporter Bob Woodruff, who tweeted a picture of the letter.)
But will the oil rig worker's claims lead to anything? As of yet, they haven't. After Vietnamese officials received the email — which claimed the plane was burning mid-air, and crashed "50-70 km" away from the oil rig worker's location, which he provided in coordinates — they searched the area, and found nothing. This makes the letter yet another disappointment for recovery workers, who expanded their search area by 27,000 square miles following the intel.
The frustration is taking its toll on search efforts — Vietnam announced on Wednesday that until it had more concrete intel from Malaysia about the plane's possible location, it would pull back its search, which was relying on "insufficient" information up until now, according to Vietnam's vice minister of transportation, Phan Quy Tieu. (Malaysia's officials, however, countered Tieu's claims, saying, "We have been very consistent in the search."
This hardly means the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has stopped, however. Crowdsourcing efforts have been amping up as authorities have become stumped, with website Tomnod, in tandem with DigitalGlobe, providing satellite photos of the Gulf of Thailand for users to scan. “For people who aren’t able to drive a boat through the Pacific Ocean to get to the Malaysian peninsula, or who can’t fly airplanes to look there, this is a way that they can contribute and try to help out,” Luke Barrington, senior manager of Geospatial Big Data for DigitalGlobe, said.
So far, eager helpers scouring the Web have yet to spot anything, but, then again, neither have officials.