KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Murky satellite images that a Chinese science and defense agency said may show debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines jetliner provided a fresh clue Thursday in the search for the plane, pointing searchers to a location nearer to the plane's original flight path south of Vietnam.
The revelation could provide searchers with a focus that has eluded them since the plane disappeared with 239 people aboard just hours after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday. Since then, the search has covered 35,800 square miles, first east and then west of Malaysia and even expanded toward India today.
The Chinese sighting, if confirmed, would be closer to where the frantic hunt started.
The Xinhua report said the images from around 11 a.m. on Sunday appear to show "three suspected floating objects" of varying sizes in a 20-kilometer radius, the largest about 79 by 72 feet.
The images originally were posted on the website of China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. That site reports coordinates of a location in the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam and east of Malaysia.
But since the satellite images were taken four days ago, it is far from certain that whatever they show would be in the same location now.
Two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese, and the Chinese government has put increasing pressure on Malaysian officials to solve the mystery of the plane's disappearance.