"He said he spotted a burning [object] at that location, some 300 km (200 miles) southeast of Vung Tau," said the Vietnamese official.
But McKay’s original email, sent the morning after the plane went missing, gave a more detailed account. He was on the rig Songa Mercur when he saw the aircraft in flames.
His latest message timed at 6.24 today goes as follows:
‘Gentlemen. I believe I saw the Malaysian Airlines flight come down. The timing is right.
“I tried to contact Malaysian and Vietnamese officials days ago. But I do not know if the message has been received.
“I am on the oil ring Songa-Mercur off the coast of Vung Tau.
‘The surface location of the observation is Lat 08* 22’ 30.20” N
Lat 08* 42.22.26” E
“I observed (the plane?) burning at high altitude at a compass bearing of 265* to 275*
‘It is very difficult to judge the distance but I would say 50 to 70 kms along the compass bearing 260-277.
"While I observed (the plane) it appeared to be in one piece.
“The sea surface current at our location is 2-2.3 knots in the direction of 225-230.
“The wind direction has been E-ENE averaging 15-20 knots.
“From when I first saw the burning (plane?) until the flames went out (at high altitude) was 10-15 seconds.
“There was no lateral movement so it was either coming toward our position stationary (falling) or going away.
“The general position of the observation was perpendicular/ south west of the normal flight paths.
(We see the con trails every day) and at a lower altitude than the normal flight paths or on the compass bearing 265 to 275 intersecting the normal flight paths at normal altitude but further away.
Michael Jerome McKay
NZ Passport: #LA888818”