A Vietnamese navy plane spotted an object in the Gulf of Thailand that official suspect belongs to the Malaysian jetliner that disappeared Saturday with 239 people on board, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said on its website Sunday.
The plane abruptly lost contact with ground controllers somewhere over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam two hours after leaving Kuala Lumpur.
Vietnamese officials said a low-flying plane spotted rectangular objects in the water about 56 miles south of Tho Chu Island, around the same area where oil slicks were observed Saturday.
The authority said they couldn't tell in the dark whether the object was part of the missing plane, but civil administration chief Pham Viet Dung said search teams from Vietnam and other countries, including Australia and Thailand, would sent boats to inspect the area.
A more thorough search will begin again when the sun comes up.
Earlier Sunday, authorities said they spotted an orange object in the waters, but Malaysian officials said none of the wreckage had been found.
The search for the missing airliner involves 34 aircraft and 40 ships and spans 50 nautical miles, according to Malaysian officials.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published March 9 2014, 8:45 AM