Malaysia's civil aviation chief says no signs of the missing Malaysian jetliner have been found at a location where Chinese satellite images have shown what might be plane debris.
Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman says planes searched the location Thursday. ``There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,'' he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
Vietnamese officials previously said the area had already been ``searched thoroughly'' in recent days.
The hunt for the Boeing 777 has been punctuated by false leads since it disappeared with 239 people aboard just hours after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday.
The plane was heading east over the South China Sea when it disappeared, but authorities believe it may have turned back and headed into the upper reaches of the Malacca Strait or beyond.
The location where Chinese images showed possible debris is not far from where the last confirmed position of the plane was between Malaysia and Vietnam. The images and co-ordinates were posted on the website of China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.
A 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-kilometre radius, the largest about 24-by-22 metres (79-by-72 feet) off the southern tip of Vietnam.
Pham Quy Tieu, deputy transport minister, told The Associated Press that the area had been ``searched thoroughly'' by forces from other countries over the past few days. Doan Huu Gia, chief of air search and rescue co-ordinationcentre, said Malaysian and Singaporean aircraft were scheduled to visit the area again Thursday.
Li Jiaxiang, chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said later China had yet to confirm any link between the suspected floating objects and the plane.
Malaysia has come under some criticism for its handling of the search, which currently covers 35,800 square miles (92,600 square kilometres) and involves 12 nations.